Dove regna il vino non regna il silenzio – “Where wine reigns, silence does not reign”, Italian proverb
Tasting and Describing
Tasting and describing Italian wine can be closely compared to writing a poem. You must smell, taste, feel and capture your emotions. Thus when the individual stock of aromas and flavors in your own in-depth memory collides with the sense of that sip of wine in your mouth, that is the moment. So, someone would say that tasting Italian wine reminds of a seaside summer breeze… While others would think of a warm evenings beside a fireplace…
Wine critics and sommiliers with a privileged nose are able to identify aromas of substances actually present in the wine. Yet, a “professional” impression may differ from our own. Every one of us is an inimitable individual with our own individual capability to smell and taste flavours. Let alone associate emotions that wine incessantly creates in our minds! Hence every wine tasting experience is unique and it can vary from individual to individual.
For all this reasons, in my personal opinion, no description of an Italain wine tasting is ever extremely accurate or completely wrong. Yet, describing a wine is not as easy task as it would seem.
For those who know me personally, know well that Franciacorta is my favourite among all Italian wines. Reason? It’s tasting notes and the moment our first connection was established! Let’s take a closer look.
A homland of Franciacorta is the Province of Brescia (Lombardy). The wine has the DOCG status and is produced from grapes grown within the territory of Franciacorta, on the hills located between the Southern shore of Lake Iseo and the city of Brescia. Critics and sommiliers form all over the world have positioned Franciacorta as a luxurious brand akin to its world famous counterpart on the other side of the Alps.
Franciacorta is not simply a luxurious quality sparkling wine, it is a totally unique and individual flavour of Italian style. It’s tasting notes are refreshing, elegant, pleasant, unique and glowing. Franciacorta offers diverse yet always delicious and subtle choices for every occasion: from aperetivo (aperitif) to dinner and parting. So, let’s take a closer look on various types of this individual flavour of Italian style.
“Bollicine! Cin cin!” – “Bubbles! Cheers!“
Typologies of Franciacorta
The perfect blend of Franciacorta is made of Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir, with the use of Pinot Blanc permitted up to a maximum of 50%. The wine has straw yellow colour with golden tints. One of Franciacorta’s principal characteristics is secondary fermentation in the bottle with at least 18 months of ageing on the lees. Furthermore, processing and maturation continue for at least 25 months after the harvest. The bottle pressure is maintained between 5 and 6 atmospheres.
Franciacorta offers savoury, fresh, fine and harmonious tasting notes. This wine is famous by its persistent effervescence, hints of bread crust and yeast, enriched with delicate notes of citrus and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, dried figs). Its dosages include: Pas Dosé, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec or Dry, Demi-Sec.
The delightful blend of Satèn is a subtle mixture of Chardonnay (prevalent) and Pinot Blanc up to a maximum of 50%. The softness of the taste, is a result of a careful selection of the base wines and low bottle pressure which is held at below 5 atmospheres. Satèn is available exclusively as a Brut type.
Satèn has a primrose colour that sometimes gets greenish tones. Satèn’s tasting notes are fresh, fine and persistent, almost creamy effervescent. Seems like that this wine is just simply delightful due to a nuanced but distinct fragrance of ripe fruit. …accompanied by delicate notes of white flowers, dried fruit and toasted but (almond and hazelnut). As a result, Satèn’s innate softness recalls the delicate sensation of silk.
Franciacorta Rosè is an alluring blend of Pinot Noir (minimum 25%), Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (maximum 50%). Rosè’s pink colour is a result of long fermentation of Pinot Noir grapes in strict contact with their skins. The tasting notes of Rosè are just fascinating! Franciacorta Rosè has a particular body and vigour, in addition to the typical aromas of the grape. Rosè is includes the following dosages: Pas Dosé, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec or Dry, Demi-Sec.
Did you know that these three typologies of Franciacorta wine can acquire more individuality, complexity and sophistication with longer maturation and ageing periods? Let’s take a closer look on Franciacorta Millesimato and Franciacorta Riserva.
The very word “millesimo” (“vintage”) indicates that all the wine comes from a single year (minimum 85%). Therefore, the Millesimato is produced when the year’s grape production is of particularly high quality and is enhanced by a longer period of fining. As a result, Millesimato appears at the market only at least 37 months after the harvest.
This type has tasting notes that clearly reflect the climatic conditions of the year as well as the quality of the grapes from that particular vintage. The Millesimato offers the following dosages: Pas Dosé, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, except for Satèn Millesimato, which exists only as Brut wine.
This type can be described by just one word: “excellent”. Franciacorta Riserva is made from particularly excellent Vintage wines. Moreover, to let them fully release the potential of their individual flavour and unique savour they must remain on the lees for at least five years. Consequently, the Franciacorta Riserva hits the market only 67 months after the harvest. The extended ageing in the bottle provides the wine with complex and developed tasting notes. Its dosages include: Pas Dosé, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, except for Satèn Riserva, which is only made as Brut wine.
A Brief Note on Dosages:
- Pas dosé is the driest in the Franciacorta range.
- Extra Brut is just very dry.
- Brut is dry but a little softer than Extra Brut, it’s certainly the most versatile type of Franciacorta!
- Extra Dry is soft, with a slightly higher dosage than the classic Brut, what makes it a suitable pairing for a wide variety of foods!
- Sec or Dry is less dry and slightly sweet.
- Demi-Sec has a sweetish flavor due to the relatively high dose of sugar, meaning it goes well with desserts. Wow!