The following article, written by Silvia Marchetti, appears on BBC Travel.
The bubbly made in ancient Italian undergrounds
The first thing I noticed when I visited the Italian region of Franciacorta was the dense fog that enveloped its vineyards. I could barely make out the medieval crypt just a few metres away where people were gathered to taste the niche sparkling wine produced here. I kept asking myself: how can all this dampness and fog make such a great fizzy wine?
But that’s precisely why.
Franciacorta is Italy’s most unspoiled, elite wine paradise. Forget overrated, mass-produced Prosecco – and even Champagne. This heavenly patch of fertile land, 30km northwest of Brescia, makes a bubbly that’s perhaps even more prestigious than the iconic French drop.
In Franciacorta, the grapes are hand-picked, and there’s a higher concentration of them in each bottle. Even the yeast ageing takes longer than for Champagne, a minimum 18 months for non-vintage bottles (versus Champagne’s 15 months) to a minimum of five years (versus Champagne’s three years) for vintage bottles called Riserva, the ones you keep for very special occasions.
But the secret of those tiny, driest bubbles of brut, of the silky white satèn (a term exclusive to Franciacorta bubbly) or of the region’s sweeter rosé, lies in the prehistoric origin of the soil. Continue reading at BBC Travel.
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