The latest installment in our continuing series of posts featuring “Darrell Corti on Franciacorta.”
The Franciacorta area is quite pretty.
Seen from Monte Alto, it appears to be a mosaic of different agricultures with blotches of modern life showing up in the form of industrial complexes with their rather graceless forms of concrete and asphalt.
Vines have been here since prehistory. Roman authors had already praised the area’s vines and due to the great influence of various monastic centers, Franciacorta has had a long tradition of grape growing and wine making.
Two areas, Cellatica and Botticino, at the south-eastern end of Franciacorta, were some of the first appellations recognized in the late 1960s by the then newly established Italian system of DOC controls. They both form part of Franciacorta’s territory, but have their own appellations.
Towards the middle of the 1800s, a famous wine the “bordo magher” (Bordeaux magro), sold by nobles having vineyards in Franciacorta, was nothing other than an unblended Cabernet Franc wine.
To anyone used to seeing different vine growing areas, usually a monoculture as in Burgundy or Bordeaux — even the Rhine region — Franciacorta appears quite different.
There are extension of vineyards, but not enormous expanses. The entire viticultural area of Franciacorta is less than 1,300 hectares of land and this amount competes with other crops, cereals and such for space. At one time, the production of silk was more imprtant than wine, and plantings of mulberry trees along cultivation perimeters were very important.