The Italian Champagne
Travel n' Wineries
The Italian Champagne

[Sponsored article by Bellavista]

As you may already know, there are two different methods to produce sparkling wine: traditional method (or champenoise) and method charmat. The main difference between the two is how the second fermentation is done. In the bottle for the traditional method, and in a stainless steel tanks for the method charmat.
The most famous sparkling wine made with the traditional method is with no doubt the champagne. But there are many other regions using the same method.
The first certified wine region producing sparkling wine with the traditional method in Italy is Franciacorta, in the Province of Brescia, Lombardy.

Franciacorta Brescia Lake Iseo Lombardy ItalyAn ambitious young winemaker working for Berlucchi, Franco Ziliani, was pursuing the ambition of producing a fine sparkling wine, and in 1961 was allowed to produce his first 3,000 bottles of a sparkling wine, sold under the name Pinot di Franciacorta. Interest was high and allowed the following vintage to increase the production at 20,000 bottles, and eventually reached an annual production of 100,000 bottles. By the time the region was granted DOC status in 1967 there were 11 producers of sparkling Franciacorta, although Berlucchi represented more than 80% of the production.

One of them is Bellavista.

The name means beautiful view, but the Bellavista company has a great story as well.

Back in 1977, thanks to its vision, Vittorio Moretti transformed a small wine-making business into a real company: the Bellavista label was born in Franciacorta.

Franciacorta Brescia Bellavista wine Lombardy ItalyThe very first vineyards were on the top of the Bellavista hillside, whose name derives from the panoramic position that offers a wonderful view of Lake Iseo and of the entire Po valley, which extends until the Alps.

Vittorio Moretti has always dedicated particular attention to new vineyards, and today there are 107 grapevines over 190 hectares in ten different municipalities of Franciacorta. All together, they produce around 1,300,000 bottles. This is exactly the reason why at Bellavista, one can’t refer to a single harvest, but separate harvests that depend on the position and exposition of each vineyard. Only the first three pressings are used to produce the Franciacorta, and the must gets fermented in 1,500 barrels with a capacity of 228 litres each.

Franciacorta Brescia Lake Iseo Lombardy ItalyIt’s also history that makes the sloping hillsides of Monte Orfano so special, with a legacy spanning over five centuries. Here, at the foot of a convent, there’s an ancient vineyard that today, following tradition, produces a pure Chardonnay, the label Convento Ss.Annunciata. The fermentation of this must takes place in small bottles for 12 months and the wine, which is bottled the second Spring after the harvest, rests for another year while in the bottle.

Today, Bellavista offers one of the best selection of sparkling wines made with traditional method in the world, and can easily compete with the most famous champagnes. Give them a try and be amazed!