In our travels across Italy to create this latest edition of the guide (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it), we encountered sparkling wines made in the Metodo Classico style in several regions.
As with every year, our research for the guide began with narrowing down a selection of wines locally, which meant lots of tastings in Trento, Franciacorta and the Oltrepò Pavese, among other parts of Italy. We then re-tasted the selected wines, not grouped by region of origin or appellation, but rather by type, that is, by dosage (undosed, Brut, Extra Brut, etc.)
We do this because over the years we’ve come to the conclusion that when talking about wines produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Nero grapes, the method—in this case secondary fermentation in the bottle with disgorgement and dosage—overpowers the terroir.
We believe that the winemaking techniques fully prevail over the characteristics of the vineyard and grape variety, creating Metodo Classico wines that can be great on the palate but don’t reveal any identifiable links with the appellation of place or origin.
If anything, individual winemakers’ styles prevail (and are sometimes quite easy to spot!), giving individual trademarks to Metodo Classicos, in the same way as the maisons of Champagne.
So here are our favorites, which although few, are proof of the clear growth in quality Italian Metodo Classico across the board:
Franciacorta Brut, Corte Fusia
Franciacorta Pas Dosé Au Contraire Ris. 2008, Cavalleri
M. Cl. Brut, Monsupello
M. Cl. Pinot Nero Brut 64, Calatroni
Riserva Nobile Brut 2011, d’Araprì
Franciacorta Brut 2009, Enrico Gatti
Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Noir Vintage Collection 2006, Ca’ del Bosco
Franciacorta Extra Brut 2010, Camossi
Franciacorta Extra Brut Extreme Palazzo Lana Ris. 2007, Guido Berlucchi & C.
Franciacorta Pas Operé Ris. 2008, Bellavista
Trento Dosaggio Zero Ris. 2010, Nicola Balter
Trento Extra Brut Riserva Lunelli 2007, Ferrari
Some final reflections…
In Franciacorta we continue to notice a qualitative improvement in the single-vintage wines, which we find increasingly focused. If anything we’ve noticed a certain plateauing of sans année wines, which, being strongly linked to the production techniques, in the end tend to be a bit too similar to each other.
In addition to the wines already mentioned, in Franciacorta, a number of quality wines have emerged, which speak for the clear qualitative growth in this area. In order of dosage, they are:
Franciacorta Pas Dosè 2010 by San Cristoforo
Franciacorta Pas Dosè Naturae 2011 by Barone Pizzini
Franciacorta Extra Brut 2009 by Ferghettina
Franciacorta Extra Brut E.B.B. 2010 by Il Mosnel
Franciacorta Brut Blanc de Blancs 2009 by Le Marchesine
Franciacorta Brut Cuvèe n°4 2008 by Bersi Serlini
Franciacorta Brut Casa delle Colonne Zero Ris. 2008 by Fratelli Berlucchi
Franciacorta Brut Annamaria Clementi Ris. 2006 by Ca’ del Bosco
In Trento we were pleased to notice an overall growth in quality as well as a greater organoleptic heterogeneity, with more differences in the interpretative style. These excellent wines are, however, still largely unknown to the wider public.
Alongside the two Great Wines already cited, the following were particularly interesting
Trento Brut Cuvèe dell’Abate Ris. 2008 by Abate Nero
Trento Brut Aquila Reale Ris. 2008 by Cesarini Sforza
Trento Brut Graal Ris. 2008 by Cavit
Trento Brut Methius Ris. 2009 by Dorigati
If you’re in Italy this month you can meet the makers of the wines we’ve recognized as “Slow Wines” or “Great Wines”. Come taste the fruits of their labor during the presentation of the 2016 Slow Wine Guide, on October 24 in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany.
*The Slow Wine Guide uses a unique classification system for wines. Find out more.