Within the European wine bloggers conference are many elements; wine tastings, work shops, speaks and trips. As the conference were in Franciacorta we of course got to see some local vineyards and taste some fantastic wines.

Franciacorta is a small region that lately – the last 50 years, or so – focused on sparkling wine. On a general note the quality is high, very few wines fall through, and more than a few reaches for the sky. We were split up in groups visiting vineyards, I was on a trip where we visited two fantastic producers – different in style as well as size, the common dominator = high quality wine.

Bellavista is one of the big names in Franciacorta, and is available via Systembolaget in Sweden. The facility is grand and the vineyards fantastic. In Franciacorta there are more than 64 different soils to consider as well as different micro climates. The multitude of different soils are due to a large glacier that once covered the area. Bellavista uses this to make high quality, elegant wines that are meant to stand the test of time.

The standard Bellavista that is available in Sweden is very good – but keep an eye out for Cuvée Brut – superb & posh! It’s made with a selection of grapes from more than 100 plots of land, cultivated in 10 different communes of the Franciacorta. The blend is ca 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Nero and/or Pinot Bianco. This makes a wine with a consistency and signature style. There is yet one more step on the quality ladder; Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Pas Operé  2005. It is made from a selection of vineyard plots that are, on average, over 20 years old. This is more personal and has a bit more edge than the latter. The blend is approximately 62% Chardonnay and 38% Pinot Nero.

The next visit was we went to winery that is more of a small family winery, Uberti. This is more homely, based on three vineyards, less high tech and more traditional than Bellavista. The winery started in 1973 and has been run by G. Augustinus and his wife Eleanor Uberti since the early 80’s. Today her daughters, Silvia and Francesca, more or less run the show. Here we got to experience a more homely touch with great warmth and welcoming. They aim to create high quality wines rooted in traditional methods as well as organic and sustainable methods. To get the most out of the earth they do not use pesticide or fertilizers, instead they only use manurer.

After a tour we were invited to be part of an unique experience. They served us six unfinished wines! In total five vintage cuvées and one vintage cuvée that haven’t been tapped yet:

  • 1st CUVÉE, Vintages 2007-2008-2009-2010
  • 2nd CUVÉE, Vintages 2006-2007-2008-2009-2010 bottled on 19th March 2011, 7 months in contact with yeasts, 62 months after the first vintage (4th September 2006)
  • 3rd CUVÉE, Vintages 2005-20062007-2008-2009 bottled on 18th March 2010, 19 months in contact with yeasts, 74 months after the first vintage (5th September 2005)
  • 4th CUVÉE, Vintages 2004-2005-2006-2007-2008 bottled on 19th March 2009, 31 months in contact with yeasts, 86 months after the first vintage (3rd September 2004)
  • 5th CUVÉE, Vintages 2003-004-2005-2006-2007 bottled on 7th March 2008, 43 months in contact with yeasts, 98 months after the first vintage (25th August 2003)
  • 6th CUVÉE, Vintages 2002-2003-004-2005-2006 – bottled on 17th March 2007, 55 months in contact with yeasts, 110 months after the first vintage (2nd September 2002)

Besides these we also got some of the finished product – stunning as well 🙂 Regarding these cuvées I must say I loved them as is; a bit rough but still elegant, a little more bitter and earthy and sharp as razors edge. This to food would be a little slice of heaven.

None of these have been disgorged. As of yet they’re not for sale and the winery hasn’t really decided what to to with them. Though they are in process of making stings longer than 5 years, a 10, 15 and 20 years string are planned.

Many thanks for opening up your wineries to us as well as presenting your craft & talent. I hope for Ubertis wine in Sweden in a close future.

On a more general note I’ve got some thoughts about the area; it is absolutely stunning, everything looks beautiful and very well kept. It’s a little like a miniature Champagne. Somehow it all seems almost a little to perfect – like an American 50s TV-series, its a little to clean. There is a uniqueness in the Franciacorta wines – don’t be afraid to show it! There really is no need be another Champagne – be Franciacorta instead :). If you are in Milan somewhere near lake Garda this is a trip well worth to take – for the wines, for the wineries and for the people. I’m sure I’ll come back – in the mean time (though not Gabriella Mean Time); Cheers!

Magnus Reuterdahl