Ferghettina, Franciacorta DOCG, Brut NV, Italy
A blend of 95% chardonnay with 5% pinot noir, mushroom cork closure, 12.5% abv., Ann et Vin and more widely available, from £15-20.
The area – Franciacorta is the only sparkling wine DOCG to specify metodo classico (traditional method), and applies all the Champagne regulations, and sweetness levels – it is designed to emulate and compete with Champagne. It is in the Region of Lombardy, in the Province of Brescia, nestled in the hilly area close to the southern shores of Lake Iseo – Lago d’Iseo, at about 200m altitude. The presence of the heat sink lake moderates what would otherwise be a continental climate. The soils are stony/gravelly and mineral rich, having been created as lateral and terminal moraines when glaciers occupied the region.
The varieties – The dominant variety is chardonnay, with pinot nero and pinot bianco. Vines are planted at high density, to restrict vigour, concentrate flavour and give small loose bunches.
Vinification – hand harvesting, gentle fractional pressing, first fermentation in tank, though some use old casks, second fermentation in bottle; NV has at least 18 months lees ageing, with release at least 25 months after harvest.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance – pale intensity lemon-green, showing small bubbles and tears. A very brisk persistent effervescence after pouring into a glass, with a persistent thick cordon or perhaps blanket is more accurate, on the surface for a whole minute.
Nose – clean on the nose, with a medium intensity, developing, with a hint of yeast and spice, with citrusy – lemon and delicate limey notes, along with stewed apple, and there’s a hint of anise when re-tasting on day 2..
Palate – a dry wine, with medium acidity, no tannin, medium alcohol and medium body, with a medium intensity, with flavours of citrus – ripe grapefruit, baked apple, and a hint of dough – almost almond like; with a creamy mousse and a long persistence with a clean crisp medium (+) finish.
Quality – a good quality brut, but does not really have the complexity or certainly intensity to compete with champagne in the same price range. Nevertheless it is a well made harmonious wine, with a balance between acidity, which more medium than medium (+), and alcohol+residual sugar; with a very persistent creamy mousse and a crisp clean finish. A good buy at £15. Ferghettina is reportedly a good producer, but more premium ones such as Ca del Bosco or Bellavista would be worth trying too, but with a premium price £25-35ish.