a drink after work in Italy is as popular as it is here,
however in Italy, everything centers around food. In Italy,
if your in a bar after work your not just drinking, fai
l’aperitivo. Having a pre-dinner drink – an
aperitivo. (An aperitivo is a drink that stimulates the
appetite and tells the palette food is coming.) Trendy bars
offer finger foods like bruschettas or mini pizzas to help
with the second round. Upon my recent tour of Italy this
past September, the most popular drink aside from still
table wine was Franciacorta.
It is the name of the wine region in Lombardy that produces
white, red and sparkling. Its most famous for bubbly though.
Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne.
Made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc grapes
in the traditional method (the same used in making champagne).
In short, the bubbles are formed and trapped in the bottle
as opposed to in a large tank. This process is more expensive
but there’s a big difference in the finesse of the
bubbly. The tank method is used for the production of another
popular italian sparkler-Prosecco.
Franciacorta has particular characteristics that makes it
easily identifiable. Its colour is straw yellow with green
tinges. Its bubbly mousse creamy and persistent. Its nose
is striking with hints of nuts and baked bread. When you
take a sip you’ll experience its elegance and its
Demi-Sec: Just before the cork is placed
on the bottle every bottle of Franciacorta produced recieves
its sugar dose. This determines how dry it will be.
Demi-Sec recieves the most sugar. It’s perfect
with desserts. Strawberry tarts or Vanilla Pannacotta.
Brut: This is the most common of all. Broiled
fish such as striped bass or white meat such as chicken or
turkey. Fried calamari, or tempura of veggies. It also accompanies
the regional DOP Taleggio cheese.
Non-Dosato-This recieves no sugar before
the final capping therefore is the driest of all franciacortas.
It’s best as an aperitif or can pair well with shellfish
Satèn: Franciacorta made from white
grapes only. Similar to Champagne’s blanc de blancs.
There is less atmospheric pressure in the bottle, giving the
bubbles a softer, creamier mouthfeel. Without the Pinot Noir
grape that gives the structure, it is more delicate, elegant
and has more finesse. Try it with mild dishes that are a little
Rosé: The red and white grapes are
vinified seperately until the winemaker then decides the percentage
of each grape to use for the final blend.The most structured
of Franciacortas, pairs well with cold cuts such as Prosciutto
or Speck. Try it with traditional veal scallopina alla parmiggiano
or chicken cacciatore.
Vintage: A Franciacorta Brut made from grapes
only from the particular vintage stated on the label.