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Welcome to Bite, Your Independent Local Guide to Eating and Drinking in Edinburgh
Discovering Franciacorta
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A new wine page for Bite Magazine!  This definitely calls for a celebration, so we thought we’d start with something sparkling.  We’re heading off to Lombardy in the north of Italy to a beautiful place called Brescia where the most exquisite sparkling wine is produced.  Worlds apart from the fizz generally associated with Italy, this is made by the traditional bottle-fermented method used in Champagne.  Also predominantly using two of the same grape varieties; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as an indigenous variety Erbamat.  This sparkling wine is not surprisingly DOCG classified, reserved for Italy’s highest quality wines.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Franciacorta. 

Whilst this iconic fizz is still one of Italy's best-kept secrets, it actually dates back to the 16th century.  However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that it received its comeback when 11 producers using 29 hectares of vineyards to produce 217,000 bottles were granted DOCG status for Franciacorta.  Today 116 wineries are producing 17.5 million bottles each year.  Although many don’t yet have organic status, the majority adopt organic practices as a matter of course and all operate as boutique wineries.  Every stage, such as picking the grapes and producing the wines is done lovingly by hand. 

A warmer climate in Lombardy means the grapes can be picked when they're riper.  This results in a naturally more luxurious style of wine which can be produced very dry without losing these fabulous natural flavours. 

Look out for the Brut Nature styles - the driest style yet but still with plenty of flavour.  A unique style to Franciacorta is Satèn which translates as "silk” — produced using 100% Chardonnay grapes and slightly less sugar in the "liqueur de tirage” which is what gets the fermentation going in the bottle to create the bubbles.  This results in less pressure within the bottle, giving a gentler or "silkier” sparkle.  The ageing process is also slightly longer all in all resulting in a creamier style, with much softer bubbles. 

(D. Thompson) 

Try these:

  •  Ferghettina is a superb producer, and the full range is available at Woodwinters (Newington, Stirling & Inverness) from £20
  •  Bellavista Brut, Valvona & Crolla £36.99
  • Tesco Finest Franciacorta £15 
If you enjoy Champagne & sparkling wine, then join us at Fizz Feast "A Celebration of Sparkling Wine & Artisan Food” on Saturday 16 November see www.WineEventsScotland.co.uk for details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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