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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.


Villa Crespia is imported into the UK by Bancroft Wines. The wines do not carry vintage dates on the front label and are technically non-vintage, though in fact most come from a single vintage.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta Brut 'Miolo' NV, Italy
From the 2007 vintage. All Chardonnay. "Comes from a simple soil," according to Michela Muratori. 24 months ageing and 12g/l dosage. It has a sweet, gentle peachiness on the nose, floral notes too, very charming without a lot of creamy autolysis character. Pleasing, mouth-filling palate, with bright, fruity flavours. Arguably there's a slightly coarse character with a slightly sherbetty fizz, but this is pleasing and easy to drink, fresh, and ripe, though not fantastically complex. 87/100.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta Brut 'Novalia' NV, Italy
All Chardonnay, "From a more structured, stony soil." 24 months ageing and 7g/l dosage. Again that soft, delicate flower and stone fruit ripeness. The palate has a more harmonious feel. The lower dosage does have a fresh, clean, zest freshness, with a nice balance of sweet fruit and clean acidity. 88/100. In UK.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta Brut Satèn 'Cesonato' NV, Italy
All Chardonnay, 28 months in bottle with 7 or 8g/l dosage. Has a little more apple and bruised fruit quality, a slightly less clean and expressive nose in some ways, a slightly baked quality, but the sweetness of the palate is perceptible, I guess due to lower acidity here. Juicy and very easy to drink, citrus and orchard fruits, but with nice acidity leaving the finish fresh. 87-88/100.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta 'Numerozero' NV, Italy
2006 vintage, disgorged in 2014. No dosage, "The truest expression of the terroir." All Chardonnay, part fermented in oak. The yeastiness and lightly oxidised bruised fruit quality is more evident, a nice sense of earthiness and a dry, English apple quality. Lovely bright palate, with racy and pithy acidity, but there's no shortage of that pear and apple fruitiness, the nuttiness of the autolysis and the zippiness of the zero dosage. Very nice wine. 90/100. In UK.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta 'Cisiolo' NV, Italy
Available in Tirage and The Fat Duck. This is a Blanc de Noirs with no dosage, all Pinot Noir with a minimum of 30 months in bottle. I find the nose on this slightly dull, slightly muddied, but there is an earthy pinot character there the light oxidation with some pastry touches. Not a lot of fruit in this. The palate has weight and toasty richness, a full texture, but again perhaps a little lack of fruity charm, ending with a fat lemony acidity though not huge length. Savoury and full, and a nice food wine. 88-89/100.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta Rosé Extra Brut 'Brolese' NV, Italy
70% Pinot with Chardonnay, saignée method, and long ageing of at least 36 months in bottle. 2g/l sugar. A touch of coppery tint to a fairly bright pink. A big, toasty nose, lots of coffee and cream, and a feeling of ripeness and richness, a touch of strawberry and of Pinot earthiness. The palate has lovely fruit, a decisive brightness, lots of charm here that is slightly missing in the Cisiolo for me. Long and delicious, with both serious structure and charm. 90-91/100. In UK.

Villa Crespia, Franciacorta 'Simbiotico' NV, Italy
From the 2011 vintage, this is the zero added sulphur cuvée. All Chardonnay. "The grapes have higher phenolics as tested by the university of Pisa, which helps in using no sulphur." Very fresh, a nice touch of controlled oxidation and yeasty character, but apple and lemon to the fore, a suggestion of floral background. A clean cut, abundantly fresh wine with very good acid balance and a pleasing, very natural feel. Lovely wine, and fresh as a daisy. 89-90/100.

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