Franciacorta, a leader in EU’s growing organic movement

sole 24 ore

Yesterday, the Sole 24 Ore (Italy’s leading finance daily) published an article on the European wine trade’s growing organic movement.

The article, by Giorgio Dell’Orefice, is based on data released this week by Millésime Bio, the annual conference devoted to organic- and biodynamic-farmed wines (held this week in Montpellier, France).

According to the report, 275,000 hectares planted to vine are currently farmed organically in Europe, representing 3.6 percent of the world’s vineyards. This figure has grown by 11 percent since 2013 and it grew by 164 percent between 2007 and 2013.

European growers account for 73 percent of organically farmed vineyards across the globe with Austria in the lead (9.7 percent), followed by France (8.5), Spain (8.4), Italy (7.9), and Germany (7.4).

Dell’Orefice points to Franciacorta as one of Italy’s leaders and pioneers in organic farming and winemaking.

“Enormous progress has been made,” says Barone Pizzini general manager Silvano Brescianini, who is quoted in the piece.

“Of the total 2,900 hectares planted to vine in Franciacorta, more than 1,000 are farmed organically. Today, they represent 33 percent of the total production. Five years ago, only 5 percent were formed organically.”

“It’s a developing process,” adds Brescianini, “and it has certainly been helped by new E.U. regulation of organic farming practices which took effect in 2012.” These norms will help to standardize the organic farming of grapes, he notes.

Organic grape growing continues to face challenges, however.

“One of the principal problems is that European organic certification is not recognized in the U.S. market. This is a problem that will have to be resolved in U.S.-E.U. trade negotiations since Europe continues to the world leader in this sector, accounting for more than 70 percent of the organically farmed vineyards in the world today.”

Franciacorta is the official wine of the World’s Fair 2015

worlds fair expo 2015 website

Above: An artist’s rendering of a pavilion planned for this year’s World’s Fair, Expo 2015, to be held in Milan from May 1-October 31, 2015 (image via the Expo 2015 Facebook).

Great news: Franciacorta is the official wine of the World’s Fair, Expo 2015, to be held in Milan from May 1-October 31 of this year.

Check out the Expo 2015 website here.

And check out the (very informative and useful) Wikipedia entry here.

See also this statement from Franciacorta consortium president Maurizio Zanella.

The coolest thing about the fair, beyond the fact that it’s going to be held in Italy, is that the them is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

Here are the seven “sub themes” that have been proposed:

Science for Food Safety, Security and Quality
Innovation in the Agro Food Supply Chain
Technology for Agriculture and Biodiversity
Dietary Education
Solidarity and Cooperation on Food
Food for Better Lifestyles
Food in the World’s Cultures and Ethnic Groups

Italy is one of the world’s leading producers of commercial and artisanal foods and Italian gastronomy is wildly popular across the world, from New York City to Shanghai and beyond.

So it made perfect sense for the fair’s organizers to make food, food production, the culinary arts, and food safety and ethics the focus of this years six-month event.

We’re going to be following along and reporting on the fair and Franciacorta’s role in the months that follow.

But for the moment will just share this nugget: the Japanese, we have heard, are shipping containers (the big kind) full of Japanese water to be used to cook their rice for the exposition. Now, THAT is commitment!

Stay tuned for more on Expo 2015 in coming weeks…

“One of the most refreshing and complex Verdicchios in recent memory”

cuvee tasting verdicchio

Above: Grower and winemaker Alessandro Fenino and winery manager Silvia Loschi tasted cuvées from the 2014 harvest in December of last year (image via the Pievalta Facebook).

“The Pievalta’s impressive clarity, vibrant fruit and earthy soil notes make this one of the most refreshing and complex Verdicchios in recent memory,” write the authors of the Liner and Elsen monthly newsletter.

Pievalta’s 2013 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is one of the shop’s featured wines in its current newsletter (January 2015).

“The Pievalta estate practices biodynamic viticulture on vines grown in the Verdicchio’s finest growing zone. The estate’s classically styled 2013 Verdicchio casts a pale green-gold color and a touch of dissolved CO2 from the bowl, followed by appetizing aromas of green melon, lentils, smoky minerals and marjoram. Showing the appetizing briskness of the 2013 vintage, the wine’s minerality lifts a zesty core of key lime and Bosc pear fruit. Earthy lentil notes return on the wine’s long, vibrant finish. Enjoy now and over the next two years with clams, mussels, baby squid, grilled green vegetables, mushroom risotto, braised lentils, white bean stews and light pork recipes. Also serve with young goat cheeses.”

In a time when big box stores and large wine retail chains dominate the retail sale of wines in the U.S., it’s so great to see an independently owned wine shop like Liner and Elsen in Portland, Oregon thriving. By all accounts, it’s one of the best wines stores in America today.

Barone Pizzini at Babbo, arguably the most influential Italian wine list in the U.S.

babbo wine list

Many have pointed to 1998, the year that Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca opened in lower Manhattan in New York City, as the year that the Italian wine renaissance exploded in the U.S.

No one had ever seen anything like Joe Bastianich’s encyclopedic coverage of the Italian wine landscape. And perhaps never before had so many fine Italian wines been available in the U.S. by the glass and by the “quartino” — a format that Bastianich introduced to America, now popular from coast to coast.

“A quartino,” writes the curato of the wine list, “is a small decanter that holds a quarter of a liter. That translates to one-third of a 750 mL bottle, or about a glass-and-a-half. If you don’t wish to order a whole bottle of wine, or if some people in your party want one type of wine and others something else, then the quartino offers flexibility. Often guest split a quartino or two of white wine with their appetizers, then move on to a bottle of red with their main courses.”

The quartino is just one of the many ways in which Bastianich’s vision helped to — literally — reshape our perceptions and appreciation of Italian wine in this country.

We couldn’t be more thrilled to see that Babbo currently serves Barone Pizzini by the glass on its list.

And we’re proud to be a “drop” in the legacy that introduced a generation of Americans to the wonders of Italian wine.

It’s not easy to get a reservation at Babbo but try going on the very early side when it opens or enjoy appetizers and wines by the glass at the bar while you wait for a table on the later side. It’s worth the wait.

Babbo
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
(212) 777-0303
Google map

NY Times selects Milan as number one travel destination

duomo milan milano photo

Above: The Duomo of Milan, a stunning gothic cathedral and one the city’s most recognizable icons.

It’s sad but it’s true. Milan is often overlooked by foreigners who visit Italy.

They are put off by its “big city” character and urban feel.

But that might all change now that the New York Times has named it its number one city to visit in 2015 (out of 52 cities).

For those of us who have worked and lived there, Milan has always been one of Italy’s greatest culinary destinations, where you can find top Neapoltian and Pugliese restaurants along side with Milanese classics.

It’s a city where Michelin-starred and experimental dining offers myriad options.

And it’s a city where wine bars abound.

It’s a city of design, a city of fashion, and on any given day on the subway, you will literally see scores of top models (no joke!).

Just an hour or so drive to the west from Franciacorta, it’s also a city deeply connected to our appellation and our wines.

In fact, many Milanese spend their weekends in Franciacorta where they go wine tasting and dine out and many even own second homes there.

We were thrilled to see the editors of the Times take note of this extraordinary city.

Be sure to check out their wonderfully produced “What to Do in Milan” video.

Happy 2015! And stay tuned for another year in blogging!

Happy new year to all our friends in the wine professional community from the families here at Barone Pizzini.

2014 was an incredible year for the wineries: from our Tre Bicchieri award and Gambero Rosso prizes and our write-ups in the Slow Wine and Espresso guides, it’s been great to see that our steadfast belief in organic farming and high-quality winemaking has made a mark in the world of fine wine.

Starting next week, we’ll begin another year of wine blogging, in which we’ll share information and insights into our wines, vinification and tasting notes, and profiles of our favorite restaurants where you can find our wines.

But most importantly, we hope to convey our passion for the Franciacorta appellation and all the people who work so hard to produce its extraordinary wines.

Thank you for being here in 2014 and for following along.

Please stay tuned: we’re looking forward to another fun year of wine blogging!

happy fourth of july