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Franciacorta tasting notes

text and photographs © 2014 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Franciacorta and its wines.


Bellavista is imported into the UK by Liberty Wines.

Bellavista, Franciacorta Cuvée Brut 'Alma' NV, Italy
The main product line is 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, sometimes with one or two percent of Pinot Blanc. It is bottle with 8g/l dosage and Mattia says that there is a small proportion of reserve wine in this, with the cellars having reserves that go back for around eight years. There's a herbal note to this, charmingly golden wine with a steady stream of bubbles. A touch of butter and marzipan, with a touch of something like melon skins or lemon rind, a touch of phenolic. The palate has loads of grapefruit and bittersweet orange. There is a perceptible sweetness to this, with a clean, fresh finish of apples and lemons giving a tangy finish. 88-89/100.

Bellavista, Franciacorta Satèn Brut 2009, Italy
All Chardonnay, delicate gold and delicate stream of bubbles. From high vineyards facing south. More than 50% fermented in barrels, with four years ageing. 8g/l sugar. Just a tiny addition of sulphur at the end of fermentation. Really soft custard creaminess, that butter and fresh cream is backed up by a little ripe, fresh apple. The palate has real bite: a zippy, dry, citrus squirt of acidity that braces the finish, playing again the softness and sweetness. 88-89/100.

Bellavista, Franciacorta Brut Rosé 2008, Italy
South facing vineyards, 48% Pinot Noir, the rest Chardonnay. Very pale but bright pink. Very fresh, a touch of watermelon perhaps, a touch of redcurrant, but again that creamy vanilla touch comes through. On the palate it is rounded and fruity, a tiny nod towards strawberry, but the acidity is again so bright and lemony crisp, pushing through and a savoury, earthy touch with a nice raspberry tartness and good length. 89-90/100.

Bellavista, Franciacorta Brut 'Vittorio Moretti' 2006, Italy
In the last 33 years this cuvée has been produced only nine times. According to Mattia it represents "the 'behaviour' of owner Vittorio Moretti: genuine, straightforward and masculine." The blend is 48% Pinot Noir, 52% Chardonnay from 25-year-old vineyards. It spends seven years on the lees and is 60% fermented in oak. Lovely bright colour. Custardy and gentle on the nose, with a certain meatiness and depth, there's a lemon rind lift and a nuttiness - complex stuff, with unfolding layers. The palate is dry, with a big lime and fresh orange blast of riper citrus - not lemon, but touching the more tropical side of citrus, with a steely, salty core of mineral freshness and dryness. Long, shimmering stuff, and powerful. 92/100.

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