Franciacorta: organoleptic characteristics and difference with champagne

vigneti franciacorta visti dall'alto

There is often a bit of confusion between champagne and Franciacorta, without really knowing what these two terms identify. First of all, to clarify your ideas, let's say that both refer to wine production areas: with the denomination Franciacorta one identifiesLombardy area, in the surroundings of Brescia, while with that of Champagne we turn to one area of France, located east of Paris. Some of the best bubbles on the market come from here, despite the fact that the two areas have vines that stand out for their rather different characteristics. Let's find out what the characteristics are between these two important wine production areas.

Franciacorta, organoleptic characteristics (and more)

Beyond a specific geographical area, the term Franciacorta is used to indicate the former Italian wine produced with the classic method – that is, with refermentation in the bottle – to have obtained the “Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin” (DOCG). We are talking about a one-of-a-kind product, so much so that each bottle has the power to be different from the other.

In the vicinity of Brescia, in fact, this wine – which some prefer to also call “sparkling” – is produced with grapes from noble Chardonnay vines, to which they are added Pinot bianco or Pinot noir grapes (vinified in white, partially or totally). In some cases, small doses are even added Erbamat grapes, a still little-known white grape variety, which stands out for its strong acidity, which helps to give the wine the right note of freshness, without alternating its organoleptic properties. Different types of Franciacorta are born from the mix of these grapes, each of which has its own distinctive characteristics:

  • Franciacorta, characterized by a straw yellow color with golden reflections, fine and resistant perlage. As for the aroma, there are hints of bread crust and yeast, mixed with notes of citrus and dried fruit. The taste is fresh, fine and well balanced
  • Franciacorta Satèn, with an intense straw yellow color, with shades of green. The aroma of ripe fruit is unmistakable, accompanied by notes of white flowers and dried fruit such as almonds and hazelnuts. On the palate, this wine is softer, due to a careful selection of the grapes with which it is produced and a lower pressure in the bottle (below 5 atmospheres)
  • Franciacorta Rosé, produced with Pinot Noir grapes, which give it a unique vigor, which combines perfectly with the characteristics of the grapes of other vines. The result is a pinkish colour, more or less intense, and a fresh and well-balanced flavour.

These different types of Franciacorta are also distinguished by the different dosages of liqueur added after disgorgement:

  • Not Dosed, the driest of all Franciacortas.
  • Extra Brut, very dry.
  • Brut, dry but decidedly softer than Extra Brut.
  • Extra Dry, soft and suitable for pairing with a wide variety of foods
  • Dry, less dry and slightly sweet.
  • Demi-Sec, sweet due to the high sugar dosage. It pairs well especially with desserts.

To satisfy customer needs, Gusto offers Franciacorta of every type: from the prized 2006 Cuvèé from the Ca' del Bosco winery (considered one of the ten best in Italy) to the more traditional Brut from Contadi Castaldi and Monogram Satèn. Here the wine list.

Champagne, organoleptic characteristics (and more)

As anticipated, Champagne is an area of France where one of the best-known wines in the world is produced. It is, in reality, a rather large region, within which it is possible to distinguish five different production areas: Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallee de la Marne, Côte de Sézanne And Aube. The entire territory of Champagne is occupied by vines of ChardonnayPinot Noir And Pinot Meunier, whose grapes are used to produce "wines" of different types and characters. In particular, three different types of champagne are distinguished depending on the area from which the grapes come, classified according to their commercial value and distance from the heart of the region: Grand Cru, Premier Cru And Cru.

In any case, the more generic Champagnes are all produced from a mix of the three grapes mentioned above. However, it is possible to make a small distinction between some basic types:

  • Blanc de Blanc, produced with 100% Chardonnay.
  • Blanc de Noirs, produced exclusively with red grapes - Pinot Noir and Pinto Meunier -, individually or in combination with each other.
  • Rose, produced with a small part of red wine in the cuvée, or obtained with the color extraction technique called Saignèe (bleeding).

Like Franciacorta, Champagne is divided into different types based on the dosages added after disgorgement. It is therefore possible to distinguish:

  • Pas Dose, so the bottle is filled with the same wine at the end of disgorgement
  • Extra Brut, in which the bottle is filled with any wine up to a maximum of 6 g/l of sugar
  • Brut
  • Extra Dry
  • Sec
  • Demi-Sec
  • Doux

The best-known version is that of Brut, proposed by Gusto in different variations. Among the labels of wine list we can mention the Champagne Brut Cuvèe De Reserve by Gallimard, or the Champagne Brut Reserve by Billecart Salmon.