Franciacorta DOCG is a traditional method sparkling wine made from Chardonnay (and/or Pinot Blanc), Pinot Noir and Pineau Meunier grapes grown in the Franciacorta region of Lombardia (Lombardy), Italy. The DOCG was awarded in 1996. Still wines are bottled under the Curtefranca DOC. The region’s ‘wine capital’ is the town of Erbusco.

Terroir: The Franciacorta region is located between glacier-formed morainic hills which begin at the south shore of Lake Iseo (Lago d’Iseo) in the province of Brescia descending gently to the city of Brescia itself. The area has been settled since ancient times. The landscape is dotted with noble residences, palaces, castles, churches and convents.

Located on the south side of Lake Iseo in the province of Brescia, Franciacorta has an exceptionally favourable mild climate, its rolling morainic hills descending gently to the city of Brescia itself. The area was settled in ancient times and its splendid noble residences, palaces, castles, churches and convents stand in captivating natural surroundings.

Climate: Mild climate. Well-ventilated.

Soil types: Varied so suits a range of grape varieties.

Labelling: The date of disgorging (‘sboccatura’) must be shown on the label.

Wine styles

Franciacorta NV cannot be sold until at least 25 months after the harvest, of which 18 months must be in contact with the yeast in the bottle (this is superior to Champagne, which requires just 15 months on lees).

Franciacorta Vintage or Millesimato cannot be sold until at least 37 months after the harvest, of which 30 months must be in contact with the yeast (roughly the same as Champagne).

Franciacorta rosé must contain at least 15 percent Pinot nero, and as in Champagne this style can be made by blending in a little red wine.

Franciacorta Satèn must be a Blanc de Blancs (thus only Chardonnay and/or Pinot Bianco) and made in a crémant style with just 4.5 rather than 6 atmospheres of pressure. A noticeable trend among producers is to use barriques for the first fermentation, in order to make this style more distinctive.

Sweetness levels: The designations for sweetness are exactly the same as for Champagne: Pas Dosé, also Dosage Zéro, Pas opéré, or nature (up to 2g/l of residual sugar); Extra Brut (up to 6g/l), Brut (up to 15g/l), Extra Dry (12–20g/l), Sec (17–35g/l), Demi-sec (17–50g/l).

Wineries

Certified Biodynamic1701 Franciacorta.

Certified organic, Biodynamic practicies

Certified organic: Il Mosnel.

No certification: Bellavista. | Ca’ del Bosco. | Castello Bonomi

Bibliography

Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p.124.

Tom Stevenson, ‘Franciacorta, Di Meglio in Meglio’, World of Fine Wine Issue 20 2008, p.192-197.