Vin du Jour or "Wine of the Day" is a blog focusing on wine and all things it encompasses written in a prose that's intended to be fun, informative and thought provoking. Salut! (Like to contribute to the blog...then, contact us.)

I Love to Entertain with Champagne

I love to entertain with Champagne, but the prices are often so high for the great stuff that I’ve begun to find alternatives that fit my budget. One of the best wines I’ve found is Franciacorta.Franciacorta is a sparkling wine made with the traditional Champagne Method of secondary bottle fermentation. This is a very involved and costly method but it gives Champagne its biscuit-like yeastiness. The other method often used in sparkling wines like Prosecco is called the Charmat Method, this method involves using stainless steel tanks to hold the wine and adding carbonation, much like how soda is made. It is considerably cheaper and less time consuming and you can definitely tell the difference in quality.

 

Franciacorta is made in Lombardy, Italy. Lombardy is located in the very northern part of Italy along the French and Austrian borders. The climate here is very similar to Champagne due to the alpine mountain ranges in the north. Franciacorta is said to translate to “little France.” The grape varietals are Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc), Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are very thin skinned grapes that ripen quite well in these cooler climates. They are also the main grapes used in Champagne.

 

That said, there are a couple of producers making this wine with great pride and success. Ca del Bosco and Bellevista are making wonderful wines that rival some of the most prestigious cuvees in France. They also offer tremendous value because these wines are relatively unknown and generally you can get Franciacorta at a third of the price of a comparable bottle of Champagne. In a blind tasting, even the greatest palates I know couldn’t easily tell the difference.

 

So next time you are in the mood for bubbles, think outside the box and try these little gems.

 

More next week...

 

Salut!

 

Dustin Jones

Director of Wine Education, VinVillage

Sommelier, Court of Master Sommeliers

Where to Buy?

Where can I buy this to try it?? (Franciacorta)