It was 25 March 2015, 4 days ago I had been an AIS Sommelier and 15 days ago Perlage Suite was born... which gives the online notebook with another web address had begun to look like a real wine blog! If they had told me that four years later I would be a professional wine blogger I think I would have laughed. That same day I crossed the threshold of Vinitaly for the first time in the company of my friends Federico, Andrea and Laura. On that same day I published this article "All the colours of Franciacorta with La Montina"and promised to visit them at the company... a nice little trip from my comfort zone of Ravenna Centro. To tell you the truth, that day I never even thought of going to live in Franciacorta after only four months.

An established characteristic of me is my absolute and restless unpredictability: today I am here, tomorrow who knows... I have always lived with the terror of creating ties with places and above all with people. I have always seen in the bond a chain, an impossibility to chase that same freedom that today, in some way, I experience as a limit. "You change!" my mother would say. Yet in these four years an ocean of things, houses, people have changed. And I have realised that childhood dream of living on the lake, or rather 'in the middle of the lake' in a place where, for the first time in 34 years, I wish to put down roots.

For me, La Montina is a bit of the place where it all began, starting with my great love affair with Lake Iseo and Franciacorta. With its limits, its landscapes and its unchanging beauty. That is why when I received the invitation from the Bozza family to go to Villa Baiana on 12 October for this tasting, I immediately cancelled the event I had in Milan to be here. La Montina for me is and always will be a special place to experience, despite the passing of time and wine, the emotion of the first time.

The first time I visited La Montina I thought that there could not be a more beautiful winery in Franciacorta. Today, as I have the presumption to say that I have visited at least 80% of the Franciacorta wineries, I can only think I am right. L'atmosphere that I breathed on Saturday, starting from the garden itself, was sweet and romantic. I love these little lights that adorn the greenery in front of Villa Baianais really a perfect place to get married. In fact, the one time I came pretty close to it three years ago, I thought about doing it here too... too bad I ran away (for a change!).

The theme of the evening was "Franciacorta and ageing on the lees, comparing palates". The tasting was conducted by one extraordinary preacher of thirsty sheep, Nicola Bonera. The sheep, on the other hand, were journalists, influencers, bloggers, customers and industry professionals. I must say that palates were seriously challenged and it was nice to experience the same experience with a different flavour.

Harvest 2004

The 2004 vintage was characterised by temperatures that were never very high during the day and rather low at night, with excellent temperature fluctuations. During the growing season, there were no major surprises or particular difficulties, and the harvest was even in terms of quantity after two poor seasons. The climatic trend made it possible to make the most of the harvests from the various plots and create bases with very pronounced peculiarities according to the different areas of origin, all of which, however, concur in presenting excellent finesse and great acidity. This made it possible to create cuvées of great freshness and aromatic complexity, potentially very long-lived and with great personality. Vintage rating 4.

Champion A:

Franciacorta Brut Millesimato with draught in March 2005 and disgorgement in February 2008 [4].

Intense golden yellow colour with antique gold reflections. Interesting nose where candied tangerine, white chocolate, brioche, custard and an oyster finish stand out. Although rather dry, it is better in the mouth, where the saltiness and almost fibrous structure are convincing.

Champion B:

Franciacorta Brut Millesimato with draught in March 2006 and disgorgement in June 2018 [6].

Brilliant golden yellow colour with a perlage that forms an abundant mousse and a persistent crown. The nose is elegant, intense, bright and very characterised by yeasts, with rather woody hints. In the mouth it is crisp, fresh and long. It did not convince me much.

Harvest 2005

The 2005 vintage was characterised by a fluctuating course at least until the flowering, and then regularised until August with dry, sunny weather and good diurnal temperature ranges. The sugar concentration was rather high and the acidity did not drop too much, guaranteeing particularly low PH values. The aromatic profile of the bases showed great promise in terms of elegance and ageing potential. Harvest rating 5.

Sample C: 24 months on the lees, 11 and a half years from disgorgement

Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato with draught in February 2006 and disgorgement in February 2008 [2].

A particularly brilliant golden yellow colour with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. Intense, elegant and complex nose in which I recognise notes of butter, balsamic, aromatic herbs that fade into a citrus finish. Incredible freshness in the mouth, were it not for the great balance it would seem to have been made 'the day before yesterday' and certainly not 11 years ago! Very pleasant and with a rather long finish.

Sample D: 148 months on the lees, 1.5 years after disgorgement

Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato with draught in February 2006 and disgorgement in February 2018 [7].

Straw yellow and brilliant with a perlage that forms a persistent crown. The nose is more delicate than the previous one, but the characteristic ripe notes of a wine that has spent a good 148 months on the lees are clearly discernible. Hints of lemon, candied citron and hazelnut follow one another in a floral background. In the mouth, it is very consistent, still very young, with intense hints of lemon and an overly charged, crisp bubble. Very long finish and great prospects.

Harvest 2006

The vintage was characterised by a regular spring course that culminated in a particularly dry early summer, with a trend similar to that of 2003. From the beginning of August, a few rainfalls restored the water balance and ripening began under the best conditions. Since mid-August, the weather has always been fine and stable, with daytime fluctuations of up to 10 degrees, which has contributed to both the development of aromas and the maintenance of freshness. The bases presented fine aromas, excellent pH and acidity values, good aromatic complexity and an optimal alcohol content.

Sample E: 43 months on the lees, 9 years from disgorgement

Franciacorta Brut Millesimato with draught in March 2007 and disgorgement in October 2010 [3].

Brilliant straw yellow with golden reflections. The perlage forms an abundant and persistent mousse. The nose is particularly elegant, although it convinced me more as soon as it was poured. It gave me the impression of having oxidised particularly quickly in the air. It retains aromas of milk chocolate, honey, rock salt, Jamaican pepper, coriander and yeast. In the mouth, it is crisp, fresh, structured and intense. Very long finish.

Sample F: 136 months on the lees, 1 year and 4 months after disgorgement

Franciacorta Brut Millesimato with draught in March 2007 and disgorgement in June 2018 [5].

Brilliant straw yellow with golden reflections. The perlage is fine and forms a particularly abundant mousse. The nose is elegant and citrusy, with a very strong hint of lemon and a pleasant raw butter finish. In the mouth, it demonstrates great consistency, especially in its freshness and citrus notes. It has an important structure and a long finish, but is still very young.

Sample G: 20 months on the lees, 11 years after disgorgement

Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato with draught in February 2007 and disgorgement in October 2008 [1].

Brilliant straw yellow with golden reflections. Fine and numerous perlage that forms an abundant mousse and a persistent crown. The nose is complex and very elegant, very floral. I recognise clear notes of lime blossom, dandelion, honey, green apple and Brazil nuts. In the mouth it has a crisp bubble, with an incredible acid shoulder in relation to the age of disgorgement.

Sample H: 137 months on the lees, 1 year and 4 months after disgorgement

Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato with draught in February 2007 and disgorgement in June 2018 [8].

Brilliant straw yellow. Fine perlage forming abundant and persistent mousse. The nose is acidulous and intense, not particularly open. Hints of yeast are very strong. In the mouth it is crisp, intense and consistent.

  1. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato 2006 with draught in February 2007 and disgorgement in October 2008 [Sample G].
  2. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato 2005 with draught in February 2006 and disgorgement in February 2008 [Sample C].
  3. Franciacorta Brut Millesimato 2006 with draught in March 2007 and disgorgement in October 2010 [Sample E].
  4. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato 2004 with draught in March 2005 and disgorgement in February 2008 [Sample A].
  5. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato 2005 with draught in February 2006 and disgorgement in February 2018 [Sample D].
  6. Franciacorta Brut Millesimato 2004 with draught in March 2005 and disgorgement in June 2018 [Sample B].
  7. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato with draught in February 2007 and disgorgement in February 2018 [Sample F].
  8. Franciacorta Satén Brut Millesimato 2006 with draught in February 2007 and disgorgement in June 2018 [Sample H].

Since the theme of the evening is 'Franciacorta, palates compared', my personal ranking shows that my palate particularly liked the 2006 vintage and is rather neutral between Brut or Satén Brut. What is really interesting, however, is that the top 4 positions are all occupied by the oldest disgorgements and that with the same vintage, I prefer a shorter stay on the lees and a longer period of refinement in the bottle

After a visit to the cellar, where we were also able to admire a rather beautiful exhibition of African art (I was particularly impressed by the painting with the musical instruments), we moved on to dinner. For the occasion, instead of using the chefs from La Montina, they wanted us to discover the talent of a very young Chef from Lovere: David Fiordigiglio. I would call him a 'child prodigy' both in the way he cooks and in the way he exhibits his dishes to an audience of journalists, which is still exciting even for a more seasoned one. He's only 22 years old, it's absolutely incredible. 😍

Super scallops in Ceviche with fruit, lime and coriander... also try the variant with mint instead of coriander, which has a particular flavour that some people might not like!

The idea of laying the risotto prepared with a leek-only stock, butter acidulated with onion and, of course, Franciacorta La Montina over raw red prawns that had warmed up with the heat of the rice was commendable. The taste was very good, although I would have liked it slightly more on the wave. However, the way it is served needs to be studied better because laying 4 tablespoons of rice on top of the raw prawns is not worthy of the exquisite taste, besides I prefer odd numbers and rounding up, so next time let's make 5 piles so we don't just taste if it is cooked!  😆 To plate a risotto like this is not easy, especially to obtain the 'blanket' effect for the prawn... but it must be studied carefully again! The idea of using edible flowers is perfect, in short, David needs to play with shapes to do justice to the taste of his risotto! The cucumber granita with mint mousse was very tasty... I ate two portions, but I would have gladly eaten the third! Besides, I didn't say there's two without three! 

This is one of the shots I stole from the kitchen, where I spent some time. I really enjoy watching the chefs at work, it is as if they were dancing, in good cases also with great harmony, a secret dance whose steps only they know. This was a little interlude between the risotto and the main course (the only dish that did not stand out because the texture of the meat was not perfect) that I found absolutely brilliant. I know that at first glance it looks like a banal meat tartare (unfortunately not knife-beaten as is the custom in Piedmont)... but its strength is playing with flavours and textures. It is basically a tartare of raw meat with the fat of the same roasted meat on top. Really interesting, to be tried again with a knife-beaten Fassona, which could be seasoned with the fat of the cooked meat instead of extra virgin olive oil (I can feel the frowning look of my beloved friend Marco Antonucci on me right now, I know it well...).

Even though my mother traumatised me with fennel and there is normally no way of making me eat it, the dish I enjoyed the most was the dessert created in collaboration with Valrhona. Basically, I found it a wonderful interplay of textures, temperatures and tastes! Fennel, white chocolate and liquorice combine in an incredible way... just too good!

The adorable President of La Montina Vittorio Bozza He told me that the secret of his youthfulness of mind and body lies in drinking and eating well and making Love often. I feel exactly the same way and hope to have the privilege of growing old with the same lucidity of spirit and sweetness of soul. ❤️

Many thanks to the entire Bozza family, whom I had great pleasure in re-embracing, especially Alceo, Giancarlo and Michele, whom I will always love and who, when he smiles, is capable of stopping the world. Or stops mine, but that I have a soft spot for him has been known for at least four years!

 

Cheers 🥂

Chiara

PS it was also a great pleasure to have the company of Marina Tagliaferri from the Agora Press Officecompany that I hope to enjoy very soon! 😍

And are you familiar with Franciacorta La Montina? What do you think? Write it to me in a comment!

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