Champagne? We’ve got something better!!! Enter TRENTODOC and FRANCIACORTA!
Well, let’s be honest: the French have been very astute marketers for Champagne, and I must say I enjoy Champagne very much…or at least some of it!!! Like any other product, when it gets that much publicity and attention, the demand rises.
To meet the demand, production must then increase and, therefore, quantity becomes more important than quality. In my opinion, nowadays you should spend at least over a hundred dollars to be able to drink a proper Champagne.
If you do a little research you’ll find that there are wonderful examples of Metodo Classico produced throughout Italy, but the most important regions are Trento, in Trentino Alto Adige, and in the Franciacorta region.
But first: what does “Metodo Classico” mean? Literally Classic Method, to keep it simple it is a method that uses a process of refermentation through which carbon dioxide is developed, producing the classic perlage that is visible in a glass of metodo classico sparkling wine. It is a case of in-bottle refermentation, otherwise known as second fermentation, which occurs while the bottle matures in the wine cellar. (I’ll be more specific on this topic in future posts).
This process requires a lot of skills and a lot of time, before you get to drink these wines and appreciate their complexity they will rest in the cellar from 15 months up to 10 years, after that they’ll be pulled out of the cellars, the bottles disgorged, recapped, labelled and then you’ll finally be able to sip these wonderful nectars. Now you know why they can be so expensive: all this hard work and waiting justify their price tag!
As they’ve put it to me: sometimes it’s quicker to make a baby and put him through kindergarten than it is for a bottle of metodo classico to be ready to be drank!
Back to our trip: Val di Cembra in Trento is characterized by very steep terraced hills where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grow beautifully thanks to the Pergola Trentina vine training system, which allows maximum exposure to the sun and minimizes the risk of diseases.
After tasting these gems, 15 months, 36 months and also a 2002 Riserva (to die for!) we decided that their wines are going to be part of our new range!
We then made our way to the Franciacorta Region, nestled just north of Brescia, on the shores of lake Iseo.
Simply idyllic, this family bought an entire “borgo”, an ancient village with 100 hectares of land, 30 of which are now cultivated and the remaining 70 are just surrounding forest that preserves the natural environment.
We visited the cellar which has been dug underneath the hills; with the light of one candle we walked between 1 million bottles, but don’t think for one second that this is their yearly production! They produce only up to 250,000 bottles per year and the minimum aging time is 48 months. 4 years of resting before they’re ready, isn’t that amazing? What a remarkable experience! We absolutely love this winery and their Franciacorta D.O.C.G.
We carried out our wine tastings inside the medieval villa and then we were honoured guests at a lakefront restaurant. Just amazing!
Now my eyes are closing, need to catch up with some sleep as tomorrow we’re off to Asti, Piedmont!
Barbera, Nebbiolo and Moscato lovers get ready!!!