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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.


Biondelli is imported into the UK by Berry Bros & Rudd. For the moment this is only for the Satèn.

Biondelli, Franciacorta Brut NV, Italy
All Chardonnay with 6g/l dosage and 12.5% alcohol, though Joska Biondelli tells me some parcels can come in at 14% potential alcohol. Quite a leesy, rich, autolysis nose, with pure apple fruit, seems quite fat and has an orangey character. It has a sense of roundness and meaty power, with the palate displaying a toasty richness and real suggestion of sweetness, with such a full, mouth-filling mid-palate and a cushion of full, creamy mousse that all comes together in to a fine, balanced, juicy but tremendously fresh finish with a touch of salty minerality. Delicious power and sweet-fruited appeal, though the combination of ripeness and that touch of dosage means it is not quite as fresh in finish, without quite having the élan of the Satèn. 89-90/100.

Biondelli, Franciacorta Satèn NV, Italy
All Chardonnay, this cuvée is sold through BBR in the UK. No dosage, so less than 1g/l sugar, bottled under lower pressure. Nice cream and vanilla touches, but also nettle and delicate flowers and herbs, with those subtle complexities showing beautifully. The palate has real intensity: given that there is no sugar, it has an intense inherent sweetness and attack: a big grapefruity thrust of acidity, the sourness biting into the finish as a lovely counterpoint and an intensely dry finish. A fascinating style, very dry and authoritative, but it shimmers with edgy freshness and acidity in the finish. 91/100. £26.95, Berry Bros. & Rudd.

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