The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
It has been said that many of Italy’s prized wines rarely leave the country. One such wine would be the ‘champagne method’, bottle-fermented sparkling wines of the Franciacorta region in Lombardy, near Brescia. For years the market for these Champagne-like wines was Italy, notably the local Milanese. But a recent visit along with my colleague Edwin Dublin, one of Berrys’ experts on anything that fizzes, threw up the opportunity to bring a couple of the region’s finest to No.3 St James’s Street.
Now in stock are two wines: Joska Biondelli’s Franciacorta Satèn, so named for its fine, satiny texture and small bubbles (from a lower dosage giving less fizz), this is a gentler style of wine made from 100% Chardonnay and aged for 30 months on its lees for extra complexity. Biondelli’s a new name, only recently beginning to bottle its own fruit, from vineyards at the heart of the zone.
The other being Cavalleri’s Brut Blanc de Blancs, again made using 100% Chardonnay, that’s been vinified in a combination of oak and stainless-steel. Cavalleri are one of the historical families of Franciacorta, with vineyards lying in the key Erbusco zone. Unlike some of their neighbours (Biondelli excepted), Cavalleri make wines with lower levels of residual sugar and sulphur, relying on the natural richness of their fruit to provide the pleasure. As a result their wines have a pulpy lemon/mandarin ‘spremuta’ (squeezed fruit) generosity and immediacy…..as Diletta Cavalleri, the latest generation explained when she visited our shop last week….