On the road again- this time on the way to Lake Iseo, home of Franciacorta, Italy’s answer to Champagne. But first we stop for lunch at Vivione, a rural restaurant where we enjoyed a multi course lunch.
Our menu: antipasti of manzo affumicato con noci e scamozza, ricotta con olio del Sebino, carne salata con julienne di cipolla e cannellimi; first courses: malfatti d’erbette e ortica con speack e salvia, i casoncelli caserecci al burro; main course: i bocconcini di manzo con funghi porcini +polenta macinata a pietra e patatine arrosto; cheese course; dessert: i mirtilli caldi con gelato, house made wine
Our first Franciacorta visit is to the old established Fratelli Berlucchi. Franciacorta is what the producers prefer to call their wine: a sparkling wine made by the same procedures as in Champagne where the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, followed by a minimum of 20 months on the lees.
Saturday was dedicated again to Franciacorta: we started with a cultural visit to Palazzo Torri, a former seigneurial estate which gave us a glimpse into the daily life of the landed gentry.
We then went to the family estate of Ricci Curbastro where we had a visit, tasting and lunch of tapas paired with their Franciacorta wines. Giovanna Ricci Curbastro was our hostess and we appreciated the fruity, high acidity of the wines with the characteristic yeastiness. The Franciacorta Brut is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco and 10% Pinot Nero. We also tried their two still wines, a red and white Curtefranca, along with the Demi Sec with dessert. With the appetizer we had the delightful rosé brut, 80% pinot nero and 20% chardonnay. We also visited the wine museum of several thousand items established by their father. I met brother Riccardo several times at tastings in the US which led to this visit.
We ended the day with a visit to another long established Franciacorta producer, Il Mosnel, based in a perfectly restored 17th century residence. The single 40 acre estate stands around the residence and the family which has run the winery since 1836 continues the production of outstanding sparkling wines.