Grapes looking good #Vendemmia2014

best chardonnay franciacorta

We’re still waiting for notes on harvest from the Barone Pizzini team.

But right now the staff is too busy picking grapes!

They did take time out yesterday to send these photos.

Stay tuned for more info as harvest and vinification progress.

It’s been a challenging vintage but the fruit is looking good.

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Harvest 2014 begins: “everything in place for a vintage with great finesse”

harvest 1

“The cool summer will be good for Franciacorta,” said Silvano Brescianini, Barone Pizzini general manager and vice president of the Franciacorta Consortium, in a press release issued earlier this week by the consortium.

“It has made for a slow ripening process of the grapes. The temperature variation between day and evening helps to preserve the ideal balance of acidity and aromatic character in the fruit.”

“Everything is in place for a vintage with great finesse and aging potential. But, as always, we’ll only be able to gauge the quality of the harvest after a few months when the base wines will be ready.”

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@ItalianWineGuy reflects on “Franciacorta’s ‘little’ problem” #GoodRead

best photo franciacorta

“Franciacorta’s ‘little’ problem”

By Alfonso Cevola aka @ItalianWineGuy

“I just don’t get Franciacorta,” the tall lady muttered to her friend at a recent reception. Her friend was pouring all manner of cool wines from Germany, Austria and France. Grower Champagnes chilled in iced trays, alongside Franciacorta. I wondered why she said that, but I was in full-introvert mode, and was in no shape to investigate her motives.

Perhaps the lure of “Farmer Fizz” was too great. Maybe Franciacorta isn’t yet cool enough. I once heard a complaint that Franciacorta wines don’t have any unique sense of terroir. Clearly that person never made a 5K run around the vineyards, never sailed on Lake Iseo.

Click here to continue reading…

“A challenging vintage” but Chardonnay in perfect condition says Barone Pizzini vineyard manager

perfect chardonnay grapes

Above: A photo of Chardonnay in Barone Pizzini’s Cioset vineyard, taken today, Friday, August 8.

“It’s going to be a challenging vintage that will require a lot of focus,” says Barone Pizzini vineyard manager Pierluigi Donna. “But if we play our cards right… The Chardonnay grapes are in perfect condition.”

Good weather conditions in Franciacorta, promising vintage

weather conditions harvest wine 2014

Although there have been some isolated hail storms, Franciacorta has been spared the incessant rains that have plagued other parts of northern Italy this summer.

At the moment, the forecast for the coming days is mostly sunny with warm days reaching the lower 80s (F.) and cool evenings.

The above screen capture was taken today at about 11 p.m. Franciacorta time: note the temperature at this time of night. The classic temperature variation is ideal for a great harvest.

It’s too early to know for sure but Barone Pizzini is expecting an excellent vintage for its wines.

Stay tuned: we’ll be following harvest closely over the next few weeks through its completion.

Franciacorta Consortium: “Double-digit growth for Franciacorta exports. Healthy sales in Italy.”

best franciacorta

The following press release was issued today by the Franciacorta Consortium (translation by our blogmaster).

Double-digit growth for Franciacorta exports. Healthy sales in Italy.

The Franciacorta Consortium Economic Committee has just released data for the first half of 2014.

The first six months of 2014 have been good for Franciacorta: sales grew in Italy and abroad, with 5,292,468 bottles sold, an increase of 9.6 percent with respect to the first six months of 2013.

Results were good in Italy, with growth of 8.5 percent. Although Northern Italy continues to hold the top spot in sales, a positive trend continues in the South, where there was a healthy increase in the number of bottles sold.

Exports grew by 17.4 percent with respect to the first half of 2013, resulting in an overall increase in the number of bottles sold of 12.6 percent.

Once again, Japan is the top foreign market for Franciacorta, followed by the United States, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium. Growth continues in the United Kingdom where sales have grown notably (100.4 percent) thanks to marketing efforts that began there last year and heightened brand visibility.

“We are very pleased with the results we’ve obtained during the first part of the year, in Italy and abroad,” said Maurizio Zanella, president of the Franciacorta Consortium.

“At the same time,” he added, “we are well aware that the first six months of the year represents only 34 percent of total yearly volume. We hope to maintain this positive trend over the next six months.”

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Pievalta by the glass in beautiful Larkspur, CA at Picco

best homemade pasta larkspur

Above: Chef Bruce Hill’s housemade pasta at Picco in Larkspur.

Picco owner Chef Bruce Hill is one of California’s food pioneers.

He began his career working with Jeremiah Towers at the now legendary Stars in the 1980s. And he has opened and cooked at some of the Bay Area’s most important, landmark restaurants like Aqua and Oritalia.

“Hill is an immensely talented chef,” wrote restaurant critic Michael Bauer for the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2013.” He worked at Stars in its heyday, brought fusion food to the Bay Area with Oritalia, cooked food more electrifying than the view at Waterfront, and invented several products, including a burger press that’s now sold at Williams-Sonoma. In other words, he’s a very busy and versatile guy.

For more than ten years now, Picco in Larkspur has been a favorite Italian destination for one of the most sophisticated groups of fine diners in the world. These folks know good food…

And we’re proud to report that Chef Bruce pours Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi by the glass.

Highly recommended…

Picco Restaurant
320 Magnolia Ave
Larkspur, CA 94939
(415) 924-0300
Google map

Image via the Picco Facebook.