When the journalist - and soon to be my best man - Marina Tagliaferri of the 'Agora' Press Office invited us to go and taste the Franciacorta Lantieri de Paraticovisit the farm and have lunch at their agriturismo Lantieri Court I was very happy because, although I had already heard of this historic winery in Franciacorta, I had never had the opportunity to try anything. Yet their Franciacorta Cuvée Brut NV won the title of World Champion at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championship 2019 (CSWWC) in London, how come I had never tasted it? 😳 What's more, I had never seen the village of Capriolo and it reminded me of some perched village in Provence... only instead of lavender fields there are Lantieri vineyards! And to say that I All I knew of Capriolo was its delicious De.Co. salami called RETrather coarse, with knife-cut meat and flavoured with citrus peel, garlic, sage and white curtefranca wine!
The day wasn't the best, but then again, the weather here on Lake Iseo has been going crazy since the end of May. Going out and getting dressed is like a lottery game: 10 minutes it's raining and it's cold, 10 minutes it's sunny and it's hot... today it even hailed (let's hope there was no damage, since we're pretty far ahead...)! Anyway the Corte Lantieri farmhouse is delightful... and the gem is definitely the small, intimate pool on the terrace overlooking the vineyards! I guess we'll have to visit them sometime since the residence where I live has to keep the swimming pool closed due to Coronavirus for this summer! 😥
A kindly Gabriele seated us in a table in front of the window with a wonderful view of the vineyards. Beautiful, too bad the tent was not ideal for taking photos due to backlighting... but I hope I can still convey to you the pleasant atmosphere that pervaded our lunch. Excellent bread basket which, for me, absolutely makes a difference in a restaurant... few things turn my big grapes more than baskets of sad, old, unappetising bread!😡🤯
We were welcomed with a glass of the famous Franciacorta Cuvée Brut which I found pleasantly crunchy and mineral. A well-made Franciacorta that can certainly express itself at its best by allowing it time to evolve. Definitely its strength is its low sugar content: just 5g/l when a brut can contain up to 12g! Made from 80% chardonnay, 10% pinot blanc and 10% pinot noir grapes, it undergoes its first fermentation in steel vats and small oak barrels, the second in the bottle and then rests for at least 24 months before disgorging.
I enjoyed the welcome crudo (or culaccia?), but the reason why Corte Lantieri is worth a visit is its risotto with Franciacorta Millesimato. Seriously, you MUST try it: I count it among the best 3 risottos of my life! And mind you, winning me over with risotto is not easy: I am not particularly fond of them and I am quite demanding! Creaminess, balance, flavour... calling it moving is not enough! 😍
[Small parenthesis - how to make the perfect ristotto?]
I'm actually pretty good with risotto myself: I'm a Carnaroli pussy, I chop up the tropea onion that Edward Scissorhands can't resist, and I roast the rice in a knob of butter before mixing it with the onion stewed separately in a little butter. A quick fade with a good white bubble (and while it's cooking I take out at least one more goblet) and away with ladles of boiling broth... possibly capon broth (except for fish risottos, which I almost never make). When it is ready, cover it with a dishcloth and in the meantime melt the butter in half a glass of the same wine you used to fade it, add a touch of vinegar, a handful of grated cheese, and stir quickly and gently. At Corte Lantieri they have used a malga cheese from Valcamonica... an excellent choice: Parmigiano Reggiano is great, but more opaque.
In combination we were served the Lantieri Franciacorta Satén, which is also the best wine of the day! It is made from pure chardonnay grapes and, after re-fermentation in the bottle, is aged on the lees for at least 30 months. Also for this wine I really appreciated the low sugar dosage, the fine and crisp but creamier bubble and the mineral notes.
After this spectacular risotto we were served the beef in traditional Rovato oil which, despite its name, is not greasy at all. This dish is typical of Brescian culture and in particular of Rovato and is prepared by cooking beef, usually the cappello del prete (priest's hat) cut in water and oil after browning it in a mixture of chopped garlic, onion, parsley, capers and anchovies. I also like to prepare it at home: it is simple but very tasty. To accompany it we were served the Lantieri Franciacorta Brut Roséunfortunately disgorged in April 2020. As always, I will be honest: I did not agree with the decision to serve a professional a newly disgorged sparkling wine. This is because it is easier for a less trained palate to appreciate a young disgorgement (in this case really young). However, I am sure that, left to rest for the right amount of time, it is a Franciacorta really does give satisfaction!
Afterwards, we were offered a pistachio bavarois covered with creamy berries, very pleasant. I also enjoyed the coffee service a lot: very nice and accompanied by two simply divine biscuits.
Lantieri de Paratico: history
The Lantieri de Paratico are a noble Brescian family whose roots in Franciacorta date back over 1,000 yearsin 930 AD. The aristocratic suffix 'de Paratico' suggests their earlier settlement in the village of the same name, where they built a magnificent castle, where Dante Alighieri was also hosted. The great poet was so inspired by the beauty of Franciacorta that he dedicated a few verses of the Canto of Purgatory. The Lantieri family moved to nearby Capriolo around the 1500 and, in these years, lays the first foundations of its wine-growing tradition. Their "Ruby of Cortefranca"It was especially appreciated at the court of the Gonzaga family of Mantua, but also by the lords of Milan and Ferrara. Today, the old 16th century structures are still part of the winery. Today's wine cellar was founded by his grandfather, with a focus on the vinification of only grapes from the estate vineyards and harvested by hand at the peak of ripeness phenolic and technological.
Today the company has 20 hectares of estate vineyards and produces about 150,000 bottles year, positioning itself in Franciacorta as a small, family-run business. Most of the bottles are dedicated to the renowned DOCG Franciacorta, but the Curtefranca production is also worth trying. Indeed, let us not forget that Franciacorta is a relatively recent invention - we speak of 1961 - and when we are faced with wineries such as Lantieri de Paratico with a centuries-old winemaking history, the production of still wines is also an established tradition.
Definitely I recommend you visit Corte Lantieri, fall in love with its Franciacorta Millesimato risotto and its Satén, and enjoy an afternoon of relaxation in the panoramic poola. Then take advantage of one of the 7 beautifully finished and tastefully furnished panoramic rooms and enjoy an unforgettable Franciacorta Experience! Maybe it's because I'm getting married, but the first thing I noticed is that Corte Lantieri is a perfect location for dreamy wine weddings, perhaps even choosing a bottle of their world champion Franciacorta as a wedding favour. for the guests: great looks and enjoyment guaranteed! 😍
Cheers 🥂, Chiara