Yesterday I was a guest at a 'unusual vertical' of Villa Crespia's Franciacorta Millè and first of all I want to thank Michela Muratori for the invitation and wishing her well on her beautiful tummy! The cut that comes naturally to me for this article is to frame Millé in a Case Study logic to analyse the relationship of bottle dress to perceived valueand, above all, how it is perceived by those who have to buy it, whether a trade or an end user.

millé villa crespia

The beautiful Villa Crespia vineyards in organic conversion. No weeding, the flowers with their perfumes attract predatory insects that maintain the right balance. Very few treatments in the vineyard, from sexual confusion to copper in the most serious cases.

Millé is a pure Chardonnay resulting from the blending of wines made from grapes grown in the different lands of Franciacorta. Millé is also a broader project, created with the aim of bringing the Millennials generation closer to Franciacorta. In fact, it is proposed in an unusual and flashy outfit, like a glamorous and glitzy disco. Proposing a vertical tasting of this Franciacorta seemed rather 'daring' when I received the invitation, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Before talking about the wines being tasted, I would like to do a little thinking about the packaging and the bottle dress, which I think will be useful to Michela and all the winemakers who follow me.

millé villa crespia

Beautiful country snack, perhaps a little misaligned with Millé's glamorous colours, but very welcome!

A wine producer often forgets that he is first and foremost a business that has to function, and indulges in romanticism that often drives him away from sales. Similarly, other producers are totally disinterested in the appearance of the bottle, forgetting that, on the shelf of a wine shop or supermarket, the end consumer is attracted first and foremost by the very dress of the bottle! After all, it is like that in every aspect of life: when you meet a girl in the street you are attracted by her beauty, which is often not an absolute value but something that changes depending on the eye of the observer. You can't tell me that when you meet a girl or a boy on the street you are attracted by their beautiful character, can you? Here, for wine it is the same thing. On an offline shelf this is amplified, but we can say that even in an online wine shop it follows the same dynamics.

franciacorta millè villa crespia

Mille Millé 🍇

This teaches us that the label and any trinkets that adorn your bottle will attract one type of audience rather than another, or none at all. The key thing then is that the type of audience you attract is consistent with the content of the bottle. This also works exactly as in human relations. Now I make a 'strong' comparison, but one that fits. If you are looking for a flashy girl, who is walking around in skimpy clothes and stilettos at 2pm... are you looking for her in the library? No. Do you expect to meet an innocent virgin all "home and church"? The answer is still no (or a nice 'you wish'... or 'I've seen a unicorn fly'... 😄) What does that mean? It means that you have to dress your bottle according to the wine in it that will suit the taste, wallet and 'character of choice' of a specific target group.

millé franciacorta

I was very, very tempted to go and see Ivan at Polastri (Torbiato di Adro, if you happen to be there, head for Via Risorgimento... it's on a corner!) but I had already eaten far too much... but I love them, fantastic products. Then if you talk to me about Mora Romagnola....

With regard to the 'taste"the first question you have to ask yourself is "how is this wine?' and try to be as honest as possible. Every time I get a phone call from a producer I always hear this phrase 'mine is a different wine, special, made with all the rules and blah blah blah'. Everyone tells me that. First you should study wine and learn how to drink it in order to be able to evaluate it properly... and this is not as obvious as it may sound! I know more producers who don't have the slightest basis in oenology or viticulture than the other way around, because the agronomist, the oenologist, the cellarman... Then you should drink all the wines of the appellation in which your wine fits. I once spoke with a producer of Brunello di Montalcino who told me that he never tasted other people's wines because he drank his own... help! How can you objectively evaluate your wine within the 'genre' in which it is placed without having terms of comparison? In absolute terms, there are no wines that do not sell. There are wines that are proposed for a target audience that will never be interested in buying those very wines, that is. And the target, even before the wine, sees the communication that revolves around the bottle.

franciacorta millè villa crespia

Then there is the "portfolio" because not everyone has the same willingness or ability to spend when it comes to wine. There are those who are willing to spend and those who are not. There are those who can spend and those who cannot. "How much is your wine worth?" here is the second question you must ask yourself! I know, to you your wine is worth its weight in gold because it represents sacrifice, sweat, passion... or many other things. But I'll tell you the bad news: nobody cares about that! "How much is your consumer willing to pay for your bottle?"In the case of Millè we have a particular Franciacorta: at least 30 months in steel on the lees and at least 30 months in the bottle. In short, it is not quite the classic 'basic' Franciacorta and being in a price range of around €25 is more than acceptable with this premise. Bottle dress aside.

millé franciacorta

Finally, there is the 'character of choice"which is the most important factor for me. "Would the potential consumer looking for a wine like Millé choose it on the basis of the bottle in which it is presented?". By 'character of choice' I mean the relationship between packaging and content according to the denomination that may or may not be offered. Here we need the most complex reasoning, but also the most fascinating. We have packaging designed for a consumer at a slightly lower level than the average consumer. We have a wine designed for a consumer at a slightly higher level than the average consumer (even if so much is done by vintage in the case of Millé). And finally we have Franciacorta DOCG, a strong, commercial appellation that pulls 'regardless' of taste and wallet exactly like a dress worn by Chiara Ferragni. The third multiplying factor is the key to Millè. If they had made it in Alta Langa, I think it would have been a tragedy foretold: although a land of excellent sparkling wines (often far far above the Franciacorta average), it is a less commercial appellation than Franciacorta and a bottle like Millè would have been snubbed by everyone. In Franciacorta, good or bad, anything goes.

one thousand chiara ferragni

So what do I think of Millé? I think it is a marketing project that works in respect of the appellation and the wine it offers which, with the 2010 vintage, the new vintage on the market, finally responds positively to the question of coherence between packaging and content and can therefore also build consumer loyalty. How do I see a reserve of Millé 2004? Difficult to sell. But really difficult, difficult and still difficult... the only possibility is to completely change the bottle's dress, the name, and address it to a diagonally opposite public. The wine in it is not the audience for sky-blue Millé and, let's face it, that audience is doubtful to be interested in buying a Riserva, assuming they know what the word 'Riserva' means. I put myself in the diametrically opposite crowd who would buy the 2004 Millé Reserve 'with closed eyes' even with the current Millé outfit, but only because I have already drunk it... and I would tolerate the sight of such a bottle right by the pool. The packaging of Millé it is glamorous and sparkling, making it the perfect Franciacorta to sip in a trendy wine bar or beachside disco pubas long as we do not consider it a more or less emblazoned alternative to Prosecco that nips the competition in the bud with the 'price' item. Will those who are not interested in the contents of the bottle and stop at the packaging really be interested in drinking a Franciacorta millesimato that costs at least four times as much as its main competitor? I leave the question open and await your response in a comment. I personally see it as a wine that is difficult to place in wine shops, as long as one does not intercept a public that is there by chance and only to give a gift under the holidays. I see it much, much better in GDO for example... but I hope my wine shop friends will join the discussion with their contributions!

millé villa crespia

And now to the tastings! All samples were disgorged in Mayso it can be said that in that sense they played on equal terms. The year that really amazed me was the 2007: worthy of a great Champagne! A wine with a strong personality, clean, balanced, very elegant and with a bouquet that oscillates between notes of ripe fruit, ethereal, toasted and spicy notes. The 2004 also really good, the nose is even more surprising than the 2007 but on the palate there is a slightly bitter aftertaste which I believe is due to the caramelisation of the dosage syrup. I blame the time and the cork, so much so that each bottle I tasted (3 in total) boasted its own story in this respect. One bottle in particular was perfect, and to dress it up in a sparkling gown and offer it as a 'Millennials' wine, even a Riserva, would be a huge shame. The worst vintage in the tasting was the 2009: it lacked everything, from the nose, which was too little complex, to the perlage, which was not particularly fine and numerous.


photo stolen from Michela, but I couldn't have done better!

What one senses is that within the Millè project is a wine that has enormous and unexpected potential for evolution. As for Packaging... definitely Villa Crespia dared to propose such a bottle and from day one he knew he would draw all kinds of criticism. Instead he did not do well, he did very well! For years we have been talking about 'proseccoised' Franciacorta for that public that wants to make a good impression in the disco-bar with friends and appreciates wine as one appreciates a lasagna with meat sauce after a year abroad... so let's do it!

Best wishes Michela, dye the world blue and stay as fresh as you are. Among today's Millé drinkers are the future drinkers of Symbiotic, Brolese, Reserve o Number Zero of tomorrow. Or maybe not... but you still remain a winner even with a marketing choice aimed at the glittering socialite.

See you soon,


P.S. As always thank you Sony e UniversePhotos for the splendid RX100M4... the professional compact camera tailor-made for a wine blogger (it takes bright pictures even in the darkest cellar without flash!). You can currently buy it on Amazon for about 300 € off CLICK HERE!

P.P.S. If you haven't already done so... remember to buy my Sparkling Wine Guide 500 Bubbles in 500 by CLICKING HERE!

P.P.S. It was a pleasure to share the table with Alessandro Caccia, the AIS Brescia Delegate, with whom I felt very much aligned in all the tastings. I would like to tell you that the AIS mum is always the same, but there was also an AIS Spumanti speaker who said things that, having drunk over 3000 bubbles last year alone to guide and not, I really cannot agree with!

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