FRANCIACORTA

An extraordinary coming-together of elements and random events, which throughout the centuries have united to create the perfect “cradle” for excellence.
The territory of Franciacorta extends throughout an area of about 200 square kilometres and includes 19 municipalities in the province of Brescia. Resting along the banks of Lake Iseo, it encompasses the Torbiere del Sebino Natural Reserve, where the Purple Heron regularly returns to nest between migratory flights. It is a land rich in morainic origin minerals, formed by glacial melting from over 10,000 years ago.
A study of Napoleonic land registers from 1809, certifies the existence of almost 1,000 hectares of cultivated vineyards for wine production, surely destined for sales. The even more ancient “Libellus de Vino Mordaci” dates back to 1570, where Dr. Girolamo Conforti, from Brescia, describes bubbly wine in this area.

time

The production of Franciacorta is strictly connected to time. Every human activity that strives towards excellence requires its own timing, and in the production of Franciacorta time is one of the main ingredients.

This explains why the Franciacorta disciplinary, where the method comes from, pays such strict attention to time. A Franciacorta Brut must have refermented in- bottle for at least 18 months, in order to be considered such. 24 months are needed to obtain a Franciacorta Rosé and Franciacorta Satèn, and up to 30 months for a Franciacorta Millesimato, Franciacorta Rosé Millesimato and Franciacorta Satèn Millesimato.

At least 60 months must pass to make Franciacorta Riserva, and the same goes for Franciacorta Rosé Riserva and Franciacorta Satèn Riserva.

We like to think of our Franciacorta as a voyager, just like our Purple Heron. The longer its voyage over the months, the better the experience it brings with it. Uncorking a bottle of Franciacorta is like receiving an incomparable gift, resulting from a long journey through time.

THE METHOD

Let’s discover the Franciacorta method together, including the rules and processing steps that guarantee the quality of each and every bottle.

Franciacorta can be made with Chardonnay and Pinot Nero grapes, the use of a maximum of 50% of Pinot Bianco grapes and a maximum of 10 % of Erbamat grapes is permitted.

The entire method seems to follow an ancient unwritten rule: “Quality demands respect for raw materials and proper timing for their ripening”.

And it is exactly by following this ancient saying, that the Franciacorta method sets precise times and processes from the beginning to end of the production process. The harvest may take place between the second ten days of August and first ten days of September. It must be strictly carried out by hand and collected in crates holding no more than 18 kg of grapes.

The entire grape is pressed, gently and with respect. Then the flower must is fermented for the first time to create a Cuvée, combining the different varieties, vineyards and vintages.

The Franciacorta method uses two types of fermentation: the first we have just explained and the second happens in-bottle.

In order to start the second in- bottle fermentation, Franciacorta is bottled by adding sugars and yeasts: this step is called “Tirage”, where the bottles are closed with simple metal caps.

Once the bottle has been closed, time is needed to patiently allow the yeasts to ferment the sugars and therefore create the beloved beading bubbles. The Franciacorta disciplinary indicates how long the bottles need to rest: at least 18 months.

Over the years there have been actions carried out by man which have become iconic. The gesture of the human hand rotating the bottles aligned in the riddling rack, is one of these.

When the time needed for the bottle to rest is almost over, which may vary depending on the type of Franciacorta one wishes to obtain, we can proceed to what is probably the most captivating process: remuage.

The bottles are gradually inclined from a horizontal to a vertical position and are simultaneously rotated one eighth of a turn per day. Even though this “manoeuvre” is mostly done by machines, it isn’t unusual to see it done using characteristic riddling racks, where remuage is carried out by hand.

With brilliant ingenuity and a bit of skilful dexterity the gestures of this rotation, combined with the gradual inclination of the bottle, make the broken down yeasts settle and concentrate in the neck of the bottle, or to be precise in a “canula”, called “bidulle”, a small plastic cup placed under the metal cap.

A magical moment for anyone who produces Franciacorta is disgorgment, the last step in the Franciacorta method. At the end of remuage , when the bottles are already in a full vertical position, a small portion of the bottle neck is emerged in a liquid coolant. The sudden cold traps this portion of the liquid containing the yeast lees collected in the “bidulle” (small plastic cup below the cap) in ice.

The metal cap is uncorked and thanks to the internal pressure of the bottle, the frozen liquid is expelled trapping the deposits created by the yeasts. The liquid lost during disgorgement is regenerated by the “liquor d’expedition”, a secret recipe syrup which alone marks the name of the Franciacorta wine cellar.

The Franciacorta disciplinary establishes that an addition of up to 3 g/l may be indicated as Dosage Zèro. From 3 to 6 g/l we obtain Extra Brut, up to 12 g/l for Brut, between 12 and 17 g/l an Extra Dry, between 17 and 32 g/l, a Dry and finally, between 32 and 50 g/l for Demi-Sec. Once the bottles have been corked with a cork and muselet, they are then shaken and turned in order to mix the liquid. After, they are left to rest for five or six months before they can be popped opened and enjoyed.

METHOD & TERRITORY

a one-of-a-kind sensory exprerience

Take part in the world renowned Italian lifestyle by uncorking a bottle of Franciacorta Centinari and live the emotional and sensory experience enclosed in its essence.