Franciacorta wine region (Lombardy)

Franciacorta vino

The Franciacorta wine-producing region is situated between Brescia and Lake Iseo in Lombardy, and it is famous for its excellent sparking wines.

The first mention of a territory similar to Franciacorta (or ‘Franzacurta’ as it was referred to then) dates back to 1277.

The borders of the by then called Franciacorta were set for the first time in the constitution of Doge Francesco Foscari in 1429.

The region has a long history of viticulture, which goes back to prehistoric times. We can also find several mentions in the writings of the classic authors, such as Pliny, Columella or Virgil.

The presence of several monastic convents had a great impact on the viticulture of Franciacorta, of which the most significant was the Monastery San Salvatore founded by Longobard Duke Desiderio and his wife Ansa in 753.

Viticulture in Franciacorta has been continuous from Roman times through the Middle Ages and up to today thanks to the excellent climate and location.

The region has produced ‘still’ wine since time immemorial, mostly for local use. They even made a kind of sparkling wine back in the XVI century.

The real rebirth of Francacorta’s oenology began at the end of the 1950s.

Thanks to the efforts and hard work of a small group of producers, the sparkling wine style developed quickly, and in 1967 the Franciacorta DOC title was created to cover the territory’s sparkling and non-sparkling wines also.

By the 1980s, sales of the sparkling wine were already over 1 million bottles per year and the cultivated land had grown significantly.

In 1995, Franciacorta’s sparkling wines were promoted to the prestigious DOCG status.

The Franciacorta wine is bottle-aged, 18 months for non-vintage wines, 24 months for the rosé and satén, 30 months for the millesimato and 60 months for the riserva wines.

Franciacorta sparkling wine is definitely Italy’s answer to its most famous competitor, Champagne. If you like sparkling wine, we strongly recommend that you taste the Franciacorta; you will realise how surprisingly good it is….

 

We recommend:

Bellavista

Berlucchi

Cavalleri

Ca’ del Bosco

Le Marchesine

Mirabella

Monterossa

Ricci Cubastro

Uberti

Vezzoli

Valtellina wine region (Lombardy)

Valtellina

Valtellina is a splendid mountain wine region situated in the Rhaetian Alps in Northern Lombardy, with its vineyards on steep slopes overlooking an extraordinary and unique landscape.

The wine region has been producing wine for more than 2,000 years, and today it is renowned for its excellent cherry-scented wines made from Chiavennasca, or the Nebbiolo grape variety. Viticulture was brought to the region by the ancient Ligures and Etruscans even before the Romans arrived.

Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote about the Valtellina wine region: ‘circondata dalle montagne alte e minacciose dà vini potenti e in gran numero’ (valley surrounded by tall and fearsome mountains that produce heady and strong wines).

The vineyards are located on the south-facing slopes on the Adda river, mostly between 230m and 765m above sea level. The nearby Alpine peaks give protection from the cold and wind, and they help to retain the heat in the valley. The stony soil also helps to keep the heat, which warms the vines during the night. However, the steep slopes make mechanical harvesting difficult, so most of the vineyards are tended to by hand, which roughly means 1,400 man hours per hectare per year, increasing costs and limiting production.

Valtellina has two DOCG wines: the Valtellina Superiore and the Sforzato di Valtellina.

The Valtellina Superiore – which was granted the full DOCG status in 1998 – generally contains 90% Chiavennasca and has to be aged at least 23 months, with at least 36 months for the Riserva.

The Amarone-style, dried-grape Sforzato di Valtellina has a minimum of 90% Chiavennasca content and is aged for at least 18 months.

 

Some recommended wine producers whose wine is worth tasting:

Arpepe

Mamete Prevostini

Nino Negri

Rainoldi

Fay

Lombardy

Lombardy Milan

We love Italy for so many reasons: its nature, culture and history, excellent food, language and dialects and for its limitless diversity. Italy has so many faces, and it seems impossible to know all of them.

When you spend some time in Sicily, Tuscany or Veneto, it feels as if you are in different countries. Different culture, history, cuisine, habits and temperament: even a different language if you listen to their dialects.

Italy is such an exciting country: just one region alone can offer you so many miracles.

Lombardy is a perfect example, and it is the most affluent and one of the most populous regions in the country. About 10 million people live here and it produces a fifth of Italy’s GDP; its capital Milan is a true European metropolis.

But Lombardy is not just one of the Four Motors for Europe; here you also find the Cathedral of Milan, the Teatro alla Scala, the Sforza Castle and Leonardo’s Last Supper. Here is the birth city of Antonio Stradivari, the wonderful Cremona, the breath-taking Bellagio located on Lake Como or the centro storico of Mantua. We could go on and on. I could just keep writing the wonders that Lombardy has to offer for the tourist.

And I still didn’t even mention the excellent Lombard cuisine like risotto alla Milanese, polenta alla valtellinese or cotoletta alla Milanese.

And of course let’s not forget about the wines, because Lombardy is also an excellent wine region. It is the home of Valtellina red wines and the Franciacorta and Oltrepo Pavese sparkling wines. This large and geographically complex region offers a wide range of wine styles, and has many DOCG, DOC and IGT titles.

Let’s delve into them more closely!

To be continued…