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Italy has over one hundred DOC’s which may be Spumante.

However, most of these are produced via the tank method. Italy does offer a DOCG wine made in the traditional method, and this is Franciacorta. It is made in Lombardia near the town or Brescia, in a hilly area south of Lake Iseo. The area was "discovered" when Berlucchi Spumante launched a series of wines called Franciacorta in the 1960's. Today, sparkling wines make over half of regions production. Leading producers are Ca da Bosca, Bellavista and Cavalleri.

Franciacorta has a continental climate but the lake has a moderating effect on the surrounding vineyards. Mineral rich soils support Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, which are the only grapes allowed. Franciacorta has strict limits on vine density (4,000 vines per hectare), and yields (10 tons per acre). Cordon and VSP training are used for training vines, while Geneva Curtain is not allowed.

There are only 104 producers in Franciacorta, but quality is very high. 13 million bottles are produced in a region looking to mimic Champagne. Like Champagne, most bottles are non-vintage, but the Franciacorta has longer aging times at 18 months on the lees and released 25 months after harvest. Saten Brut is unique to this region and is made only from Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. It was invented at Bellavista and has less pressure, giving it a smooth demeanor. Rose must be at 25% from Pinot Noir. Franciacorta Millesimato must be 85% from a single vintage and aged 30 months on the lees. Franciacorta Riserva is the top of the line and is a vintage wine that has been on the lees for 60 months. All wines are majority Chardonnay.


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