Do Bianchi) was hosting a Franciacorta tasting in San Francisco and I decided that I wanted to attend. So I trekked across the bay, and quite a trek it was, (note to self: public transport is only as good as the parking availability at the terminals/stations), to participate in what turned out to be a fun and very informative tasting.
Alongside importers, distributors, professional winewriters and Franciacorta enthusiasts, I tasted through 16 wines (or "16 skus" in wine-promotion parlance) from about 10 different Franciacorta producers. All four categories of Franciacorta were represented; Brut, Satèn, Millesimato and Rosé. Made by the metodo classico, but with only 4.5 atmospheres of pressure instead of the traditional 6 atmospheres, all of the wines had less fizz than one would normally associate with a bottle of bubbly, (more reminiscent of a Crémant), which meant the wines showed a little more softness and elegance on the palate. There were several standouts in the Franciacorta line-up for me. Here is a selection of my WhiffsNotes;
Best nose: Barone Pizzini Satèn, NV - Wow! Baked apples and toast. Soft fizz. Easy to swallow.
Best mouthfeel: Il Mosnel EBB Extra Brut, 2009 - At once clean and complex.
Best finish: Montensia Brut, NV - Nice. Opened up beautifully. Long, long finish.
Overall drinkability: A tie between - Il Mosnel Satèn, 2010 - Super soft, ozoney-alpiness. What a mouthfeel! And, Berlucchi Brut '61, NV - Dry, clean, toast, nice finish.
Special mention: Camossi Brut, NV - Fruity, soft with unexpected Turkish Delight/rose petal vibe.
It is not without a soupçon of irony that I acknowledge that some of the most appealing wines to me at the Franciacorta tasting were 100% Chardonnay. Yes, Chardonnay. Surprising, considering I usually avoid Blanc de Blancs wines, both French and Californian, like the plague. But never say never.
Thanks for the invite 2B!