I am a wine tourist in Italy. I am in Franciacorta, the largest wine district in Italy making sparkling wine in the champagne method. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and it is a day of happiness.
Weeding and caring for the grapes and the wine in my own vineyard in Acquapendente, Lazio in Italy, and visiting some small vineyards in the vicinity. This is how I have spent my summer. But now I am on my way home, by car, to Oslo, Norway. I am a wine tourist in Italy. The first stop is Franciacorta, the Champagne district of Italy.
At the foot of the Alps I see green steep mountains diving into the Iseo lake, culminating into vineyards, some already in harvest. It is pretty, clean and elegant.
Wine tourist in Italy – a secret
I have ordered a guided tour at the winery, the first one to make sparkling wine in the Champagne method. Guido Berlucchi started in the the 1960s. It is a young DOC (wine district) in Italy. Today, the area has many vineyards and wine producers. Still, the area is referred to as Italys sparkling wine secret.
Together with wine tourists from Belgium, Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy, I receive a lecture about the microclimate. -The mountains and the Iseo lake help to cool down the grapes and stops the heat from the south. This makes the area perfect for the Chardonnay-grapes, says our enthusiastic guide, Antonio Grimaldi. As a former royal reporter, he reminds me that his last name is the same as the Prince of Monacco.
He then takes us down to the cool and dark cellar of the winery. Bottles with metal cork are stored here, with dead yeast cells in the bottom, left over from the second fermentation in the bottle which will give the wine bubbles and aroma.
Many of the bottles have been stored here for several years. – The rules are strict, says Grimaldi. The wine must be stored for at least 18 months before the residue can be removed and the bottles sold. The Riserva-wines must wait 60 months. During the tour, a film is played on the walls of the cellar.
Here you can see a film from my visit at the winery:
Towards the end, we are led down to the sacred chamber, at the bottom of the old cellar. Well protected, behind bars, I can see the first bottle of Franciacorta-wine from 1961.
As you can see in the film, we are served wine in large glasses. -They are produced exclusively for the Franciacorta-wine. The reason is that the glasses need to be larger at the top in order for the unique aroma to be released, says Grimaldi.
I am smelling and tasting. Lovely! The wines are certainly comparable to Champagne, also in price, I discover when entering the shop after the tour.
-No wonder, is the comment from Grimaldi. The process of making the wine is both more time consuming and expensive than Italys more famous sparkling wine, Prosecco. I am sold and have to bring a couple of bottles with me to Norway.
My family happily walks out of the winery, enjoying the view of the beautiful landscape. I am a wine tourist in Italy and tonight I am going to enjoy the evening in the charming village, Sarnico, by the Iseo lake. Even my 10-year old son smiles and says
this makes me happy
I have tasted and written about Franciacorta-wine earlier (in Norwegian). But it is my first time visiting the area. The trip here has given me more knowledge but also sparked my interest even more for these italian sparkling bubbles. There are several vineyards ahead of me on my way home to Norway, I will absolutely try to be a wine tourist in Italy again.