We were a group of happy, even though still sleepy, sommeliers and friends of FISAR Firenze who started out early last Saturday morning (May 24) with destination Franciacorta in Lombardy. After a couple of hours on the bus we arrived excited to the first winery on our itinerary, Il Mosnel (meaning ‘pile of stones’), in Camignone. The winery is owned by the Barboglio family since five generations, it was the mother of the present owners, Emanuela Barboglio who in the 1960s took over the operation of the estate and started producing Franciacorta DOC. We met her son, Giulio Barzanó, a charming person who guided us through a tasting of their wines and at the same time told us more about their winery and its history. According to him they do not dedicate much time to marketing, but prefer to let their products sell themselves based on their quality.
During our lunch at Il Mosnel, in a separate room with a bit of VIP status, thanks to the brilliant organization of Lorenzo Sieni and Marco Romanelli, we enjoyed among others their Franciacorta Brut, Pas Dosé, Satén, Rosé, EBB 2009, and their Sebino Passito “Sulif” 100% Chardonnay.
Being very full on both good food and Franciacorta, we continued our journey to visit the producer Barone Pizzini, before we arrived at our final destination for the day, the agritourism and wine producer Al Rocol. This is a beatiful place close to the village Ome, where you are in contact with the surrounding nature and peace and quiet. At the same time you can enjoy the typical local food and wines from their own production of Franciacorta. They are fairly small and produce around 80 000 bottles a year. He also told us that they still do the degorgement by hand, without any machines. Their Franciacorta Satén DOCG “Martignac” Millesimato, with 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot bianco, with its delicate, but still smooth taste, and elegant sparkle, can be recommended. We also discovered the hidden treasures of a good Pas Dosé during this trip through Franciacorta.
Around midnight, after three different wine tastings, visits to winerys and their production areas, a rich lunch and dinner, we more or less fell comatose onto our beds. However, the next morning we arose fresh and ready for a new day of Franciacorta wines.
First on the itinerary last Sunday (May 25) was Villa Crespia where our guide, who is also the technical head of the wine production at Villa Crespia, walked us through the winery. He explained that it was a fairly new wine producing company which includes 4 different wine estates in Lombardy, Tuscany, Campania and on the island of Ischia. As it seems in many cases in Lombardy, and Franciacorta, the wineries have been established by successful entrepreneurs from other business sectors in Brescia, thus launching the wine production as a successful enterprise aiming not only at quality, but also at research and long term profit.
After the guided tour, of course we ended the visit with a wine tasting! As mentioned before, I particularly liked the Pas Dosé version again. Their Cisiolo Dosaggio Zero, has a cool, slightly acerbic, but overall well-balanced taste and an elegant aroma.
Next on the agenda for the day was a lunch by Lago d’Iseo, to recharge the batteries. Then we were ready for the last winery of the day and a short visit to the enoteca Cantine di Franciacorta. However, the last wine producer of the day Contadi Castaldi (http://www.contadicastaldi.it/) was also the most fun and hilarious visit of the day. We had a very witty guide through the cantina, who constantly made ironic comments about all and everything, and gave us a very interesting and all around tour. At their website one can read about how the owners in the 1980s converted their brick-kiln into a winery, thus again showing how entrepreneurs from other industrial sectors in the area around Brescia has launched themselves into the wine production business. Again at Contadi Castaldi I liked their Franciacorta Zero (Pas Dosé), with 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Nero, for its fresh and well-balanced taste.
Another fun thing at Contadi Castaldi, was that the shop assistant in their wine shop, almost did not want to give the promised discount to me, due to my lack of a Tuscan accent, as indeed his manager had told him to ‘give a discount to the group who speaks toscano’. Sometimes the auto declared square minded approach of a Bresciano might go too far…LOL
A thanks goes to FISAR Firenze, especially Lorenzo Sieni and Marco Romanelli for having organized yet another great wine weekend tour.
As a last comment, from the translator in me, I noticed that some of the wine producers had fairly good translations in English of their websites, while others leave a bit more to be desired. Of course none of them had translated their websites into Swedish yet! 😉