Tre Bicchieri and Due Bicchieri Rossi are the flagships of Vini d'Italia. A review that embraces small productions along with prestigious best sellers, involving the finest labels tasted by our experts: in this new monthly column we will take you on the journey of our tasting notes.
Vinicola Arno is the brainchild of Micheal and Maria, he originally from Emilia Romagna, she from Portugal's Douro Valley. In 2017 they decided to acquire a vineyard and make their own winery in Mombercelli, a small town between Asti and Nizza Monferrato. Among the vineyards located in Castelnuovo Calcea and Asti, there are also 75-year-old vines that give rise to grape varieties such as Nascetta, Sauvignon and, of course, Barbera.
It's full steam ahead for this Adro producer. The Franciacorta winery was founded by the late Marcello Monzio Compagnoni (who left us in December, 2021). He was a great lover of metodo classico, drawing on a long winemaking tradition at the family estate in nearby Valcalepio as well. The lineup of Franciacortas presented demonstrates a consistent level of quality across the board. This year our preferences lay with the Dosaggio Zero Blanc de Noir Riserva from the favorable 2012 vintage. It's a complex, multifaceted pinot nero, elegant in its balsamic whiffs, with a very delicate sparkle; aromatically it's clear, focused and precise, the finish accomplished. The Franciacorta Extra Brut '18 is also excellent, tense and spirited on the palate, refreshing in its aromas of citrus peel and mint. The Brut '18 is also worth noting, soft and juicy but endowed with just as much freshness and verve.
This year we especially appreciated the Franciacorta Brut Cuvée alla Moda, a blend of Chardonnay (80%) and Pinot Nero (20%). It opens intense on notes of yeast, almond and toasted hazelnut. The palate is rich and pulpy, with creamy, measured prickle, and an expansive, harmonious finish.
In the small firmament of Trentino wines we find stars such as Cesarini Sforza, an authoritative sparkling wine producer now controlled by Cavit, though the new ownership hasn't affected the producer's ability to make decisions autonomously. Their Trentodocs exhibit that undeniable boldness that comes with quality: precise in their craft, convincing during tastings. The winery draws on over half a century of 'in-house' experience and a new commercial girth brought by Cavit. Six versions were submitted for tasting, all charming and singular sparklers. Great performance for the Extra Brut '14: sophisticated and elegant on notes of aniseed, fresh and sapida wine of guaranteed elegance. The same tension characterizes the Brut Rosé '15, clear in its highlights, crunchy on the palate, a whirlwind of fruit flavors accompanies a truly long finish. The Aquila Reale also flies high by virtue of its citrus fruit flavors and plenty of dynamism. The others prove more immediate, with the quite creamy and persistent Noir Nature '17 standing out. The rest are best reserved for more carefree occasions.