The landscape of Franciacorta is a tapestry of meticulously tended vineyards, ancient monasteries, and sprawling villas, etched against the backdrop of the Rhaetian Alps. The terroir is a blessed confluence of microclimate and soil, a crucible for the Chardonnay, Pinot nero, and Pinot bianco grapes that will undergo the metamorphosis into the region's venerated sparkling wines.
Every bottle of Franciacorta begins its journey in the quiet sanctum of the vineyard. Here, the grapevines are pruned with a reverence akin to a sculptor coaxing shapes from marble. The grapes are handpicked, a tribute to tradition and quality, ensuring that only the finest berries will contribute their essence to the wine.
Once harvested, the grapes are gently pressed, and the must is fermented into wine. This wine, already vibrant with the youthful notes of the region's fruits, is but an echo of the symphony to come. For it is with the secondary fermentation, a process that takes place within the very bottle from which the wine will be served, that Franciacorta attains its signature effervescence.
The bottles are stored, necks down, in the cool tranquility of ancient cellars where the wine matures on its lees, acquiring depth and complexity with each passing month. The riddling process, once done by hand but now often entrusted to the gentle precision of machines, gradually coaxes the yeast sediment toward the neck of the bottle, where it will be removed in the act of disgorgement.
But the soul of Franciacorta is not merely in its method, but in its wait - a statutory minimum of 18 months for non-vintage, 24 months for vintage, and 60 for riserva. It is in this period of patient aging that the wine finds its voice, whispering of ripe orchards, toasted brioche, and the minerality of the earth that cradled its vines.
When the wine is finally deemed ready, the disgorgement occurs, and the liquid is topped with a dosage, a secretive blend of wine and sugar that each house guards closely, another chapter in the wine's storied journey. The cork, the muselet, and the label are affixed, and the wine is ready to begin its journey anew, this time to the tables and glasses of those eager to partake in its storied heritage.
Styles of Wine Produced: Metodo Classico Sparkling Wine
Franciacorta, Franciacorta Satèn, Franciacorta Rosé , Franciacorta Millesimato, Franciacorta Riserva
A Little More About Metodo Classico, or the "Traditional Method"
The traditional method of champagne production, also known as "méthode champenoise," is a time-honored and meticulous process that crafts the quintessence of sparkling wines. It begins with the careful harvesting of grapes, typically Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, which are gently pressed to extract the juice.
The initial fermentation transforms this juice into a base wine, which is then blended skillfully in the art of assemblage to achieve a house style. This cuvée is bottled with the addition of a liqueur de tirage—a mixture of sugar and yeast—that triggers the second fermentation within the sealed bottle, creating the wine’s characteristic effervescence. Over time, the bottles are riddled, gradually tilted and turned to collect the spent yeast in the neck.
After aging, which deepens complexity and introduces autolytic flavors reminiscent of bread and nuts, the sediment is disgorged. The wine is topped with a dosage, a mixture of wine and sugar that determines the final sweetness level, and then corked and caged, ready to mature further or be enjoyed.
We cover the art of sparkling wine production in our Wine for Professionals Course included with our full membership.