Italy is not only home to some of the world’s very best red and white wines. Over the last centuries, the country developed a tradition to produce sparkling wines. Because Italian wine legislation is sometimes quite difficult to understand, I wrote a guide which should help you to understand the differences between a Vino Frizzante and a Vino Spumante. . If you are not familiar with Italian sparkling wines then I recommend that you read the guide first. The guide also includes wine recommendations.
Franciacorta is a sparkling wine from Lombardy, Italy. Just like Trento DOC, Franciacorta is the Italian equivalent of French Champagne. The appellation Franciacorta was awarded DOCG status in 1995 and is exclusive to sparkling wines. Still wines (white, red and rosé) are labeled Curtefranca DOC instead.
The name Franciacorta literally translates to “Little France” however, the name actually derives from the Latin words curtes francae meaning the Courts of the Franks. The Frankish Empire, a Germanic People, once watched over the hills of the Franciacorta Valley.
A Franciacorta has to be produced with at least 50% Pinot Nero and/or Chardonnay grapes. Pinot Bianco grapes are allowed up to 50%. The Franciacorta equivalent to a Blanc de Blancs (Champagne that is produced only from white grapes) is called Satèn. Rosé versions of Franciacorta also exists but they are not as common.
One of my favorite Franciacorta DOCG is produced by Cascina Clarabella. Let’s take a closer look at the winery.
Cascina Clarabella is a farm, winery, restaurant and agritourism. The projects of Cascina Clarabella have the aim to give jobs to disabled people. Clarabella produces three sparkling wines (Saten, Pas Dosé and Brut) as well as one still white and one red wine. Moreover they make olive oil and honey. The wines from Clarabella are produced from organic farming. The restaurant is scheduled to open sometime during 2013. I really like the project of Cascina Clarabella. It’s a great idea to give disabled people jobs in the wine industry. Their wines are stunning (you find my tasting notes for the Clarabella Saten below) and the project should definitely be supported (the easiest way to do so is to purchase their wines). For more information on the projects of Cascina Clarabella I recommend that you visit their website.
NV Cascina Clarabella – Satèn – Franciacorta DOCG
As previously mentioned, Satèn is the equivalent of a French Bland de Blancs Champagne. Satèn from Cascina Clarabella is produced with 100% Chardonnay grapes. The grapes are harvested by hand and a small part of them age for a short period in barriques after they underwent fermentation. Clarabella’s Satèn then passes on to the second fermentation which takes place in the bottle. The wine is gorged after it was in contact with the yeasts for 2 years.
In the glass, the wine has a straw yellow color. The perlage was fine and long-lasting. 13% was the labeled listed alcohol by volume.
On the nose, there was an intense aroma of fresh fruit and a little bit of butter. The bouquet was quite salty, too.
In the mouth, the Clarabella Satèn was very dry, quite fresh, crunchy, quite fruity and very smooth. The wine was complex with little acidity and high minerality. The finish was a little bit salty and persistently long. A highly drinkable and elegant sparkling wine.
The Satèn from Cascina Clarabella is of exceptional quality. Unfortunately it’s not widely available but it’s a real must-try so if you stumble over this wine make sure to buy all the remaining bottles. You won’t regret it. Promised. A bottle retails for around 21€. Very good quality-price ratio. Right now this is my favorite Franciacorta. This sparkler shows that disabled people know very well how to produce excellent wine!
Have you tried the Satèn from Cascina Clarabella? If so how did you like it and what is your favorite Franciacorta? Let me know in the comment section below!
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