(2018) Just a beautiful rosé from Bellavista. one of Franciacorta's bigger houses where all base wines are barrel-fermented. From south-facing vineyards this is more or less equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. An attractive pale colour and the prettiest aromas, small wild strawberries, peach down and watermelon, all lightly touched by creamy vanilla. On the palate the mousse is very fine, very elegant, and though there is that soft and seductive strawberry, the acid balance is perfect and the shimmering length of the wine is terrific.
(2017) Franciacorta's unique 'Satèn' style is a favourite of mine: all-Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs wines bottled with a lower pressure than in regular Brut styles, for a particularly soft and luxurious feel. This gold-tinged wine has brioche and apple pie aromas, a fine creamy yeastiness, and on the palate lovely enveloping texture, ripe, ripe fruit but terrific acidity, a zest and tang to leave it super fresh too. Note there are no UK stockists of this particular Satèn cuvée at time of review, but the Brut is selling for £22.00. The quoted stockist in Italy sells this at €16.40 (£14.48), with free delivery if spending €199 or more. Satèn from other excellent producers are in the UK: try the example from Barone Pizzini (Vintage Roots), Ferghettina (All About Wine) or Biondelli (Berry Bros.) for example.
(2016) It's an astonishingly low price for this pre-Christmas special parcel of Franciacorta in Lidl UK stores: Franciacorta is a super-premium sparkling wine region of northern Italy, the wines normally selling in the £20 - £30 range. Made by the traditional method, this all-Chardonnay wine was aged on the lees for 18 months and offers fresh, appetising aromas of pear and baked apple pie, leading onto a fresh and lemony palate, a touch of that creamy pastry character, but tight and zippy into a decent finish that is dry and savoury enough for food matching. Watch the video for tips on that and more information about the wine.
(2016) A favourite of mine in previous vintages, this zero dosage organic Franciacorta comes from a single vineyard and spends 60 months on the lees. It's a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the base wine fermented and aged six months in barriques. Just delicious richness here despite the absence of sugar, the shimmering lemon acidity is superb, just vivacious and sparky, with supreme brightness, the ripeness of fruit balancing the acidity.
(2016) High summer temperatures led to an early harvest, but small crop. Quite a depth of colour here, just a very slightly sherried character, slightly less fresh than it might be. Sweet on the palate, seems to be an almost Botrytis note, toasty and sweet, pleasant but not the quality or definition of the younger and better vintages.
(2016) A good average climatic year, with no extremes and good crop levels. Quite truffley, a touch less clear and perhaps less harmonious than the younger wines, the palate a little less pure. The balance is good, with good acid levels though the flavours don't full push through.
(2016) After a temperamental spring the summer saw settled, sunny weather and good diurnal shift. A touch lighter than the 2006 in colour, but a big step up on the 2004 and 2003 with lovely tertiary aromas, a salty note joining lightly earthy, truffle and vegetal notes, complex but feeling quite young and taut. Delicious autolytic character, bready and brioche flavours and then lemon rind and mineral acidity.
(2016) A mix of rain and very dry conditions over spring and summer, but August saw perfect conditions and a 10°C diurnal shift. A slightly deeper colour than the 2007, a hint of burnished gold. Complex, developed aromatics here, salts and citrus, a hint of mushroom and truffle and yet herby/floral nuances too. Superb palate, definite toasty and peachy development, but gorgeous finesse, the acidity thrilling and clear in the finish.
(2016) A mild winter and early vine growth, bud break 20 days earlier than average. A mild summer allowed long, slow ripening, with a well-timed heat spike just before harvest in the second week of August. Quite pale - paler than the '08 or '09 - and yeasty, with a touch of toffee and honey, but it seems very elegant and refined aromatically, and youthful. Creamy and ripe, and a delicious example which may have considerable ageing potential as that refined acidity and balance is there.
(2016) Still a touch of green to the pale gold colour. Fine, light, toasty nose again a little flinty character, and such lovely crunchy apple and citrus - lime peel and lemon peel. Great combination of juicy freshness and that developed toastiness. Nice taut finish.