Wine Department
A New Kind of
A sparkling wine from Italy made in the same manner as French Champagne? You might not realize that in the north of Italy, there is a small winemaking region in Lombardy called Franciacorta, where these bubbly wines are enjoying great success. Jackie Cecil, director of food and beverage at SC Restaurants, gives us a primer on where these wines are made and what to pair them with.
Franciacorta is situated just one hour east of Milan, between the cities of Brescia and Bergamo. This area has quickly become one of the country’s premier winemaking regions due to its methodical production standards. In 1995, Franciacorta earned Italy’s highest quality appellation status in DOCG for sparkling wine. Furthermore, it is at the forefront of sustainability ­— around 65 percent of its vineyards are organically farmed.

Franciacorta is home to more than 100 wineries that produce sparkling wines. Summer days in the region are typically warm and sunny with cooler nights, providing the ideal conditions for grapes to ripen while preserving the acidity of the fruit. This means Franciacorta producers can add less sugar at bottling and still reap a well-rounded texture. In contrast, the region of Champagne is chillier, which gives its taste more minerality.

Franciacorta is made in traditional méthode champenoise, in which the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. This traditional method produces complex, food-friendly wines.

The most significant difference between Champagne and Franciacorta lies in the characteristics of these two geographical regions. Champagne has a diverse range of climates and soils, while Franciacorta has mostly glacial soil. Champagne’s production is close to 100 times the volume of Franciacorta, making this gem a treasure to find.

Just as terroir plays a role in the specific flavors present in still wines, it also reflects in sparkling bottles. So while you might expect some of the same classic tasting notes from both Champagne and Franciacorta, such as citrus, hints of dried fruit, and toasty flavors of brioche and pastry, the differences in their growing regions provide interesting favor facets for even the most experienced Champagne aficionado to explore.

Franciacorta Vineyards
IDEAL PAIRINGS
A celebratory drink with a friend
FRANCIACORTA BRUT MILLESIMATO

Millesimato means that at least 85 percent of the wine comes from a single year. When the quality of that year is considered high, it’s perfect for a celebration.

Seafood platters
FRANCIACORTA RISERVA

Franciacorta Riserva is made from particularly excellent Vintage wines. They must remain on the leaves for at least five years, so Franciacorta Riserva is only released on the market every five and a half years after harvest.

Oysters on the half shell
FRANCIACORTA SATEN

The dry subtle fruit flavor with less fizz and a creamier mousse goes well with the oyster and the acidity of the wine cuts through the salinity.

Pasta (tomato-based)
FRANCIACORTA ROSE BRUT

Being mostly pinot noir gives this wine great acidity and body. Wonderful as an aperitif, and a perfectly balanced option for tomato-based sauces.

Pasta (cream-based)
FRANCIACORTA BRUT MILLESIMATO

Obtained from grapes harvested only in the best vintages and vineyards, and combining the elegance and finesse of chardonnay to the structure and body of pinot noir. Full with excellent flavor on the palate.

A flaky white fish dish
FRANCIACORTA SATEN

Fine with an almost creamy effervescence, its softer bubbles create a silkiness that complements white fish beautifully.

A decadent chocolate dessert
FRANCIACORTA ROSE DEMI SEC

Higher residual sugar content, red berries, and fresh acidity that goes perfectly with chocolate.