Franciacorta goes rock: the five small wineries not to miss

Dec 4 2023, 17:16
We scouted in Franciacorta to bring you five names we're ready to bet on: few numbers, plenty of character in a bottle.

Five perspectives to note down. Franciacorta is in considerable ferment; authoritative voices within the Brescia area are increasing. Zoning work is underway, new single vineyards are emerging, and the comparison between small and large estates is becoming denser. We propose some wineries with artisanal productions that have stood out in recent years, offering interpretations of Franciacorta that are highly contemporary, fresh, and tense. Considered viticulture and plenty of character in the bottle.

Five wineries in Franciacorta not to be missed

Corte Fusia

Rock music resonates in the cellar of Gigi Nembrini and Daniele Gentili, one of the liveliest artisanal wineries in Franciacorta. Since 2010, they have been working on precious plots on Monte Orfano. Just a few months ago, they christened their Orfano Terre Rosse, a parcel of great charm and complexity that brings to the glass all the originality of the (originally marine) soils of this isolated Franciacorta relief. The 2014 vintage presents an original profile of root, black tea, and peach, combined with a subdued and sharp iodine note. It is long-lasting and of great class. On the other hand, the Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero '18 plays more on purity and harmony than on power, with delicate tones of lime, anise, and white peach, very pleasant in harmony and drinkability: dry and pure. However, just tasting the Franciacorta Brut, gutsy and fragrant, allows one to appreciate the seriousness of the winery. They produce around 40,000 bottles.


Pian del Maggio

A craft reality to watch with special attention is Alberto and Ida Foresti's establishment in Gussago. Starting in 2012, their style involves vinification and maturation solely in steel, with proper aging on the lees. We were particularly impressed by the sparkling Dosaggio Zero Furente '16 (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay): it has grit and vibrant freshness, with a broad, airy, and creamy palate. It finishes precisely with hints of anise and lemon zest. Also noteworthy is the refined and complex Franciacorta Rosé ...and Anna Smiled, which leans heavily on orange zest and licorice, dry and persistent. They produce around 25,000 bottles.


Monte Alto

Three hectares on Monte Alto, the western area of Franciacorta with a calcareous origin, mainly cultivated with Pinot Noir. Alberto Tribbia's Franciacorta wines certainly don't lack character and personality. There's a lot of work in the vineyard and minimally invasive techniques in the cellar; the cuvées combine density and dynamism. During tasting, we were once again struck by the Blanc de Noir, even in an unfortunate vintage like 2017. It presents itself clearly with tones of small red fruits and licorice, with a long-lasting flavor. It's appreciated for its consistency and a savory structure not always so present in the area. The non-vintage Blanc de Noir is fragrant and full-bodied. They produce around 15,000 bottles


San Cristoforo

A precious boutique winery in Franciacorta, acquired in 1992 by Bruno Dotti and his wife Claudia. Everything maintains an exquisitely family-like character, thanks to the constant commitment of their daughter Celeste, who is a key player in the production cycle and the welcoming atmosphere in the cellar, where three different tasting experiences are offered, effectively showcasing the essence of San Cristoforo. Standing out among all is the Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Epta '13, a truly promising Pinot Noir. It presents itself complex with balsamic and slightly iodized tones, with fleshiness, savoriness, and depth in taste. We were also convinced by the Franciacorta Pas Dosé '18 made solely from Chardonnay grapes, clear in aromas of toasted bread, almond, and white peach; on the palate, it's full-bodied, rich in fruit, and satisfying in its effervescence that supports a fragrant progression well. But even the Brut often stands at the top of the appellation. They produce around 90,000 bottles.


The winery of Federico and Silvia Stefini has reached full expressive maturity. It all started in 2011 when they acquired the Bettoni Cazzago family farm. From the outset, they strongly focused on a biodynamic approach in the vineyard and the pursuit of an authentic and strong character style, emphasizing the enhancement of individual plots. Today, they own 11 hectares, eight of Chardonnay and three of Pinot Noir. The Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero Riserva '16 has broad, enveloping aromas, perfectly integrating wood tones with hazelnut, pepper, and mountain butter aromas; the palate shows a change in pace, rhythm, and a lot of gustatory depth. The Rosé '19, made from pure Pinot Noir grapes, is original and excellent: juicy and fragrant with vivid tones of raspberry and coffee, possessing an exquisitely gastronomic character. It offers a model of Franciacorta Rosé with great drinkability and character. We happily paired it with roast beef. The rest of the range is slightly less outstanding. They produce around 80,000 bottles.

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