Franciacorta: The Champagne of Italy

Italy Will Save Us from the Champagne Shortage

As we head into the holidays, you’ve probably heard that there is a Champagne shortage this year. I’m not talking about all sparkling wines; I’m talking about true Champagne. You know, the real deal from France. Champagne with a capital “c.” The crème de la crème of sparkling wine. Boujee juice. There are many reasons why: supply chain issues, low yields the past few years, producers holding back more of their reserved wines for the future, etc. The plain fact is there will be less true Champagne on the shelf, and the prices will be higher. But what if I told you there are other regions and countries you could look at for sparkling wines that are on par with Champagne, or perhaps even better. One such region is Franciacorta in Italy.

Franciacorta: Champagne but Make it Italian

Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy, a region in northern Italy. It is famous for its high-quality sparkling wines, which are made very much in the image of Champagne. Although relatively unknown in global terms, Franciacorta is widely regarded as Italy’s finest sparkling wine, made in the same Méthode Champenoise from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine comes in both non-vintage and vintage forms, and the standard white is complemented by a rosé version. Tasting notes for Franciacorta wines sound remarkably like those of their Champagne equivalents, with frequent references to biscuit, brioche, lemon, and lees.

Our Favorite Franciacorta Producer: Alessandra Divella

Our favorite Franciacorta producer is Alessandra Divella and her winery Divella Gussago.
At twenty-nine years old, Alessandra is the Italian answer to grower Champagne. Her vines have been organic from the start. Her two hectares teem with life, including beneficial plants and insects that thrive in the vineyard. Grapes are always hand-harvested and treated gently when brought in at harvest. Alessandra’s goal is minimal impact in the vineyard and in the cellar.
Alessandra, herself has a quiet confidence that belies the adrenaline rush of her wines: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, so saline and bracing they make your heart race. She does not come from a winemaking family but instead stumbled into it through interactions with winemakers that made her “feel at home.” She does, however, draw from her family heritage in her winemaking. She brings detail and precision to the process learned from her academic parents. Her Italian father (for which her NiNì cuvée is named) and Swiss mother (the namesake of the Clo Clo rosé) taught her well.

Groundbreaking Winemaker with Classic Style

All the sparkling wines are zero sulfur/zero dosage and 100% Méthode Champenoise. Wines so dialed into their provenance of clay and limestone that your mouth will salivate for minutes (if not hours) afterward. With less than a decade of winemaking experience under her wing, Alessandra has already achieved pioneer status within the region. Her estate is one of the first estates to farm organically and the first to be female-led. The exceptional level of wines produced is mind-melting, and I genuinely believe any of Alessandra’s wines will entice and enchant you this holiday season.

The Wines of Divella Gussago

Divella Gussago Blanc de Blancs Dosaggio Zero

Vintage: 2017
Region: Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy
Viticulture: Organic
Grape varieties: 100% Chardonnay

Divella Gussago Blanc de Blancs Dosaggio Zero is an absolute stunner of a zero/zero Franciacorta. Racy and full on the palate.

Song: Velvet Cave by Silver Apples

$45.00

19 in stock

Divella Gussago Blanc de Noirs

Vintage: 2016
Region: Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy
Viticulture: Organic
Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Noir

Divella Gussago Blanc de Noirs has a bouquet of rich tertiary aromas on the nose and a powerful minerality and structure on the palate.

Song: Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish

$72.00

5 in stock

Divella Gussago Clo Clo Rosé

Vintage: NV
Region: Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy
Viticulture: Organic
Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Noir

Divella Gussago Clo Clo Rosé is made from the second press of hand-harvested pinot noir. Easily transitions from cocktail hour to dinner.

Song: Whoa by Snoh Aalegra

$59.00

4 in stock

Divella Gussago NiNì Riserva

Vintage: NV
Region: Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy
Viticulture: Organic
Grape varieties: 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay

Divella Gussago NiNì Riserva is a powerhouse of a zero/zero Franciacorta that brings complexity, depth, and a lingering finish.

Song: Feel A Way by H.E.R.

$63.00

5 in stock

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