Exploring New Wines: Sparkling Wines from Franciacorta

Have you ever popped open a bottle of sparkling wine from Franciacorta?  Most people haven’t and they are definitely missing out.  Franciacorta is a wine region in Northern Italy, located close to Milan in the heart of Lombardy.  It is a relatively new region for sparkling wine by European standards as it has only been producing them for the last 50 years.  The most remarkable thing about Franciacorta is the quality of sparkling wines coming out of the region.  Much of the wine is well-made and can compete with wines from Champagne for a fraction of the cost (think $25-$35).

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Twitter tasting of 5 different Franciacorta wines.  They were all distinct from one another and, for the most part, very enjoyable.  Here are my tasting notes from the evening:

Franciacorta Lineup
Franciacorta Lineup

La Montina Argens Saten 

Aromas of lemon curd, yeast, and honey define this 100% Chardonnay sparkler.  Fine bubbles, brioche, and zingy acidity make this a nice choice for shellfish! ($28)

Contadi Castaldi Brut

Contadi Castaldi is a blend of 80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Blanc.  Fresh tastes of lemon, pear, and toasted bread are coupled with lifting acidity make this sparkler a definite crowd-pleaser! ($25)

Guido Berlucchi ’61 Brut

This blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir has mousse-like texture along with notes of stone fruit, yeast, and citrus with a bit of a spicy finish.  Not super complex but definitely enjoyable! ($30)

Lo Sparviere Brut Cuvee n. 7

The Lo Sparviere definitely takes a step up in complexity!  Notes of lychee, grapefruit, toast, and green apples are entwined with minerals, balanced acidity, and fine bubbles.  100% Chardonnay and a really nice wine! ($35)

Antica Fratta “Essence” Rose 2009

Opening with aromas of red berries, the “Essence” Rose offers an elegant palate of strawberries, raspberries, minerals, delicate flowers, and fine bubbles.  This blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is fresh, clean, and was by far the most enjoyable wine of the evening for me! ($35)

*Media Samples

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