Franciacorta is the symbol of quality sparkling wines in Italy. It is a very recent realm, however, born only in 1956 thanks to the meeting of Guido Berlucchi with the legendary winemaker Franco Ziliani. Within a few years the idea of making a sparkling wine similar to Champagne became reality and, after a few attempts, in 1961 at Palazzo Lana, the first bottle of Franciacorta was born.
Today there are almost 3000 hectares of vineyards of this denomination which owes its success to the morainic soils, the cool climate of Valcamonica, the mitigating influence of Lake Iseo and the Chardonnay grapes that make up the structure of the wine, sometimes assembled also with Pinot Nero and / or Pinot Bianco grapes.
Guido Berlucchi, reference company of Franciacorta and of the Italian Classic Method of quality, deserves attention not only for having given birth to a denomination from scratch but above all because in the last few years we are tasting more and more interesting wines like their latest arrival, the ” Berlucchi ’61 Nature Blanc de Blancs 2012 “.
This wine belongs to the category of vintage sparkling wines, undosed, hailing from the most suitable vineyards. The majority of sparkling wines on the market is the result of the blending of wines from different vintages and different vineyards to which “liqueurde dosage” is added (i.e. a small portion of wine created on purpose with a variable quantity of sugar residue according to style), in order to produce a product that year after year manages to maintain a certain homogeneity beyond the trend of the years. By contrast, in this case the wine that we are presented with is the productof a specific year, “2012”, without any dosage, “Natural”, and vinified only with white grapes (precisely,Chardonnay 100%), Blanc de Blancs.
The Berlucchi ’61 Nature Blanc de Blancs 2012 represents the purest expression of the Chardonnay of the Franciacorta area which, obtained entirely from the central portion of a single vineyard, enjoys extraordinary roundness and balance, thanks to the particular exposure to which this vineyard owes its name “Arzelle”, which in the local dialect means sunburnt.
The grapes are harvested by hand. The pressing of the grapes is soft and progressive, and precedes the alcoholic fermentation carried out in steel vats. After that, the wine is aged in oak barrels, where it matures for 6 months in contact with yeast. The various lots are then assembled into a single, cuvée wine. Only subsequently is it bottled, in order to allow the second refermentation to produce foaming and aging with its yeasts. This latter process lasts at least five years and another six months after the “disgorgement”; that is, the elimination of sediments and precious yeasts to obtain a clear wine.
These characteristics give the wine structure, flavor and finesse supported by a good and balanced acidity and a fine, persistent bubble. The aromas are those of ripe plums, of linden flowers with the addition of tertiary notes of caramelized hazelnuts.