(2015) The striking feature of Ferghettina's Milledi cuvée (there's a cheaper straight 'Brut' too) is its bottle. Researched and designed by winemaker Matteo Gatti, its beauty is more than skin deep: Gatti claims the square sides allow two and a half times greater lees contact as the wine lays in the cellars compared to traditional bottles. It is a Blanc de Blancs made from 100% Chardonnay, aged 36 months on the lees with a dosage of 7g/l and 12.5% alcohol. Fresh, herby and lightly toasty, it is open and lightly oxidative in style, lovely fruit sweetness coming through with some honey on the palate, a gentle mousse and very good length and clarity.
(2015) Another 100% Chardonnay wine that spent 36 months on the lees, the dosage is also similar at 7.5g/l and the alcohol is again 12.5%. A small, family-owned company founded 1998, Franca Contea's 2009 is yeasty and toasty, more developed than the 2011 Ferghettina understandably, with a touch of bruised apple and rotted orange, that's much more attractive than it sounds. Nice mineral inflections on the palate, sour apples but really lemony and racy in the finish.Le Langhe of York was listed as a stockist.
(2015) The first of two 'Satèn' wines, a distinct Franciacorta style, always made from 100% Chardonnay and bottled at slightly lower pressure, giving a satiny mouthfeel. This was also part-fermented in small oak barrels, aged 36 months, and has 7.5g/l dosage and 12.5% alcohol. Soft, with pear-like fruit on the nose, some exotic fruit hints and the slighly reduced pressure giving a creamy quality to the mousse and palate. Sweet fruit, almost a confectionery quality, but the silkiness conceals a very tight, fresh acid balance.
(2015) Our fourth straight Chardonnay wine, also a Satèn, this time from 2009. Around 40% of the blend is fermented and aged in small oak barrels, and it spends a full 40 months on the lees. The dosage is 7.5g/l and the alcohol is 13.5%. More herbaceous, with more of a bruised apple character, a touch of smoke and minerals too. Juicy and taut on the palate, the mineral complexity shines here, layering of gentle toast and smoke and a bittersweet grapefruit pith finish.
(2015) A rosé made from 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir, this spends 30 months on the lees and has a low dosage of 6.5g/l and alcohol of 13.0%. It's a pale rosé with a little red fruit and a light struck-match character. Cool and fresh, with a touch of copper to the colour, it is also slightly meaty. Fine freshness in the mouth, dry and that cool, savoury and gastronomic quality is to the fore. Very good quality.
(2015) From one of my favourite biodynamic estates in Franciacorta, this is made in both tank and oak barrels, spends up to 40 months on the lees and has a dosage of only 5.0g/l and alcohol of 12.0%. It is 100% Pinot Noir and has a more vibrant pink colour than the Antica Fratta rosé, and immediately an ultra-dry character, with orange and pithy grapefruit aromas; pink grapefruit with an elegant and bone-dry palate, quite delicious, mouth-watering and decisive.
(2015) From a young estate founded only in 2010, this zero dosage wine is made in stainless steel and blends 75% Chardonnay with 25% Pinot Noir, aged 24 months on the lees and with 12.5% alcohol. It is in a dry, lightly yeasty green apple style, though there is oatmeal and a nutty, almond background. Delicious, mouth-filling on the palate, the mousse quite rich and not at all austere. Bright and lemony, there is a sherbet brightness but a pleasing herb and nutty sheen of softness too.
(2015) Another 100% Chardonnay wine, 20% was fermented in French oak barrels and it again has zero dosage, with 13% alcohol. It spends up to 40 months on the lees, and is cool and cris on the nose, subtle vanilla and a floral touch, but seems taut with an apple core dryness. On the palate is is sophisticated and dry, with orange and apple brightness, a touch of toast, and a lively, bright and limey finish.
(2014) 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.
(2014) 100%chardonnay, 20% of which was fermented and aged in big old barrels. Made with 7g/l of sugar and a low pressure of 4.4 bar, it spends 36 months on the lees. The nose offers gentle toast and honey with lots of creamy richness and buttered Brazil nut notes. The palate has huge natural sweetness, and that silk and butter fatness is beautifully cut through by slicing grapefruit acidity. Delicious stuff, fishing with lively citrus freshness.