Franciacorta is the kingdom of classic method Italian bubbles, perfect for the festive table and many other occasions. The territory stretches for about 200 square kilometres along 19 municipalities in the province of Brescia, up to the southern part of Lake Iseo.
Franciacorta, the first one was Pinot del Castello
The history of Franciacorta is relatively young, born thanks to the far-sightedness of Guido Berlucchi and his oenologist, Franco Ziliani. It was back in 1961, and that first bottle, Pinot del castello, still jealously guarded in the Berlucchi cellars, marked the future of the territory. Many people do not know, in fact, that this territory did not produce sparkling wines in the past, but only still wines from local vines. Since then, Franciacorta has come a long way, so much so that it is now considered one of the most important areas for Italian sparkling wine by re-fermentation in the bottle, accounting for 88.5% of sales in terms of volume in 2022 and with a positive growth rate for exports, thanks to the progressive increase in trade with foreign countries.
Not only wine in Franciacorta
There are many, very many opportunities offered by Franciacorta to enjoy a wine, cultural and naturalistic holiday. To get a feel for the history of the area, we suggest a booking at the Guido Berlucchi cellars in Borgonato, where visitors can see the first bottle produced, the Holy Grail of bubbles, and understand what the classic re-fermentation method in the bottle all is about. Excellent is their Berlucchi ’61 Nature Blanc de Blanc from pure Chardonnay that matures in the bottle for about 70 months, and provides, especially the 2013, hints of beeswax, vanilla and juicy yellow peach, a dynamic and very elegant palate.
Another place not to be missed is Monticelli Brusati, not only for the wine but also for the landscape, with its Sentiero delle Cascate (Waterfall Trail), ideal for regenerating and breathing fresh air, also thanks to its impressive canyon. After the walk, which can also be taken at this time of year, visitors can make a detour to one of the local wine cellars, including La Montina, for example, to visit the winery and try the Franciacorta Quor, an extraordinary Brut Nature (that is, not dosed) which has spent 72 months on the yeasts, with a nose of spices and bread crust, a long and complex sip, perfect with seafood crudités and fish-based dishes.
Adro is also among the towns we recommend, with the remains of its castle, and the numerous wine cellars available. Among the many is Muratori with the amazing Blanc de Noirs il Cisiolo from pure Pinot Nero which, for its complexity and structure, can also accompany traditional Christmas meats, like a sumptuous pig’s trotter.
To blend the sacred and the profane, all you need to do is end your visit in Franciacorta at Rodengo Saiano, site of the Olivetan Abbey of Saints Nicholas and Paul VI with the Romanino frescoes in the guest house refectory and the gigantic, monumental gallery, which alone is worth the trip. After some penance in one of the thirty monks’ cells, you can ‘sin’ again (just kidding!) by visiting one of the town’s wine cellars. We suggest going to the Mirabella winery, and trying their Demetra Franciacorta rosé, a Brut Nature made from Pinot Noir (50%), Pinot Blanc (15%) and Chardonnay (35%) that matures on yeasts for 70 months and is suitable for Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner with every dish.
Holiday recipes to try at home