Bellavista Franciacorta Satèn 2015

100% Chardonnay, 65 % oak fermentation. Disgorged Autumn 2019. I love the hedonistic style here, with lots of candied lemon, lime and yellow tropical fruits, wrapped up in white chocolate and hazelnut wafers. Just puts a smile on your face.

But there’s detail and nuance too, from interesting florals to heady vanilla/tonka. Some real grace in how the palate plays out too, even being wrapped in silky-sweet pasticceria goodness. Cin cin! 17

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Ca’ Del Bosco Vintage Collection 2014

Summing up the vinification would take too long – let’s just say it’s unique! Lots of protection from ‘bad’ oxidation, but fermentation in small barrels for about 5 months. Chardonnay dominant, with a splash of Pinot Blanc and around 30% Pinot Nero. 

Cut a slice of ripe grapefruit and beautiful Mediterranean lemon, drizzle it with Demerara and pepper then roast it until just charring..grind up some hazelnuts (you left a bit of coffee in there), then smash it up over a fresh almond croissant. Finish it off with a teeny bit of woodland savour..scrunchy leaves, a little haunting of Pinot…delicious!

It manages to shape that lovely Franciacorta fruit into something with real direction and length. The sweet nature is there, but it is honed, channelled. 18

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Marchesi Antinori Franciacorta Cuvée Royale

78% Chardonnay, 12% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Blanc. All steel.

Sweet apple purée on opening, with some pretty raspberry tart and dried peach. It does move up a gear, though, with chocolate croissants and charred clementines completing an alluring, swish kind of nose. It hits with a little fruity paunch up front, with candied fruits and peachy sweetness coloured with smoky charred citrus marmalade. A one act show, but it’s a good one. 16.5

 

/ Franciacorta, Marchesi Antinori, Other

Ferghettina Franciacorta Satèn 2015

100% Chardonnay, 10% barrique with 3 yrs on lees.
Lumpen, feeling both over and under-ripe in ways. Pineapple almond, with sourdough crackers a little yeasty richness, but some tough phenolics and little elegance here. 15

Bonfadini Franciacorta Satèn Carpe Diem

100% Chardonnay, steel and oak with 24 months on lees minimum. Dosage 6.5g/l

Peach yoghurt and a slightly funky jackfruit aroma on opening, then some interesting aromatics – a snap of chicory and charred lime peel veer towards herbaceousness, but talc and something lavendar-like add some intrigue. Pineapple sweets. A decent mousse, plateauing with herbal sage and lime flirting round the edges. Not totally harmonious but full of interest. Orange oil on the finish. 16

/ Blanc de Blancs, Bonfadini, Franciacorta

Lantieri de Paratico Franciacorta Extra Brut

85% CH, 15% PN, Steel and some small oak.

This took a while to open. Initially it just showed a fruity duo of white peach and slightly chewy citrus, but it opened up to some nice candied ginger, golden apple and fragrant tropicals. A bit butch on the palate on first impressions, seeming young and undeveloped, but there is some elegance and clarity lurking. Fairly priced. 16.5

Berlucchi ’61 Rosé

60% PN, 40% CH, 2 years on lees. Sweet crabapple, fruit a little muted at first but opening up very slowly with some bitter herbs and grapefruit. The fruit sweetness – nectarine, raspberry – arrives after a while, tagged with a little autolytic and cut with fine phenolic details. Seems a touch charmless and anodyne compared to the others in this range at the moment. Difficult base vintage? 15.5

/ Berlucchi, Franciacorta, Rosé

Mosnel Satèn 2015, Franciacorta

Mosnel’s 2015 Satèn is a real charmer. 100% Chardonnay, disgorged October 2019. All estate fruit from Carmignone. 

Dried yellow apples and pear tart, lovely candied yellow grapefruit and this subtle perfumed note that reminds me of jasmine and Turkish delight.

You’re hit with a lovely peachy/juicy pear ripeness up front, but there is enough transparency and interest – flower, pepper, chalk, even a nicely pitched reductive streak –  to stop the sweet-natured fruit running away with the whole show. It would be ungainly, jarring even with a big, zippy, insistent mousse. Silk is where it’s at for this style. Approachable. 16

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/ Blanc de Blancs, Franciacorta, Mosnel

Ca’ Del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 2010, Franciacorta, Italy

Ca’ Del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 2010

55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Bianco, 20% Pinot Nero. 18 vineyards in Erbusco, Adro, Corte Franca, Iseo and Passirano. Notable for the high percentage of Pinot Bianco, otherwise declining in importance in Franciacorta. Whole bunch pressed to 39% extraction – coeur de cuvée style. 100% fermented in small oak barrels (minimum 3 yrs old), on which the base wines remain for 6 months. Full malolactic. Disgorged Autumn 2019 with no dosage or sulphite addition. 

2010 opens up with explosive charred grapefruit, ripe yellow apples and blossom honey. It manages to tone down anything too peachy or tropical, trading off delicious verbena/bergamot perfume and a gorgeous spicing from white pepper, cinnamon and basil. Shifting in its seat, it gives you a different view every 5 minutes. Proper complexity from blending here. 

It’s also pretty remarkable for a 100% oak-aged wine, letting the wood play brilliantly off reductive smoke and frangipane sweetness without smudging the fruit in butter or toffee. Golden crystal fruits just march steadily, evenly, towards more charred grapefruit and spice as it closes out. Lingering almond skin sends you back in. Wonderfully addictive. 

It does offer that little squeeze though the mid-palate you get with some zero dosage wines (and a touch of powdery, rocky grip), but here it is refreshing and light, not hollow or abrupt. There’s intensity, but it’s delivered with a cool, steady hand. Will it maintain this poise with age? Who knows! I wouldn’t bet against it. 18

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Berlucchi Brut ’61, Franciacorta, Italy. 

90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. 24 months on lees. All Stainless steel. 

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

So appetising. This is the other Franciacorta, Berlucchi? Reminds me of the Satèn ’61 I had 2 weeks ago. Ripe, golden Chardonnay fruits and some lovely buttery, peppery and spicy notes coming in. A little tropical. Pristine, sunny, very good indeed. Who wouldn’t like this wine? 17