I met Alessandro Bianchi, founder of the Azienda Agricola Villa and one of the first to believe in Franciacorta, a number of years ago, when I was gathering the notes for the itinerary of Franciacorta that appeared in issue number 5 of the paper edition of the Italian Wine Review. It was the last appointment of the day and I was probably late, but he graciously stopped whatever he was doing, took me around, and then we ended up sitting in his office, sharing a bottle of bubbly, and chatting about this and that. It was a wonderful end to the end of a long but productive day.
Since then I have made a point of visiting Villa as often as opportunity allows: His daughter Roberta and her husband Paolo are just as pleasant as he is, they organize delightful events, and their wines are very good. They were mobbed this year at Vintialy, but did find space for me in a corner of their stand.
Villa Franciacorta Brut Satèn 2006
Pale brassy white with fine perlage. The bouquet is deft, with pleasant greenish citric accents mingled with gunflint minerality, wet breadcrumbs, and some savory spice. On the palate it's ample, rich, and fairly soft, thanks also to some sweetness -- it's brut but not bone dry -- with bright slightly greenish white berry fruit supported by creamy sparkle and fairly soft acidity that flows into a clean peppery finish with some hints of breadcrumbs and minerality. A classic Satèn, which will be very nice as a wine to toast with, or to drink with friends when you want a smoother softer but still substantial and complex sparkling wine.
Villa Franciacorta Brut 2006
80% Chardonnay, 10 each pinot bianco and pinot nero. Pale brassy gold with brassy reflections and fine steady perlage. The bouquet is rich, with white berry fruit supported by wet breadcrumbs and slightly greenish minerality, with pleasing gunflint as well. It's a bit richer than the 2005, and more opulent, and this is because the vintage was richer. On the palate it's ample, with pleasant cramy white berry fruit supported by minerality and deft citric mineral acidity that flows into a clean bright citric finish. Quite pleasant, and will drink well as an aperitif or a tutto pasto, with foods at a meal. In fact, I would rather drink it with an elegant fish risotto or grilled or roasted fish -- I'm not a fan of oysters but it would be nice there too.
Villa Franciacorta Rosé Brut 2006
This is 60% chardonnay and 40% Pinot Nero, and is elegant onionskin with paler rim and fine perlage, The bouquet is fresh, with raspberry and white berry fruit laced with breadcrumbs and spice, quite fresh and still very young. On the palate it's bright, with considerable dry minerality supported by mineral acidity and some raspberry citric acidity that flows into a clean fresh finish in which the sparkle, which is creamy at the beginning of the sip, becomes peppery and adds life. Considerable depth and quite pleasant to sip; it will be a pleasant aperitif or a nice option if you want to dine with a sparkling wine. Worth seeking out.
Villa Franciacorta Diamant Pas Dosé 2004
This is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Nero, and after a part of the wine spends several months in oak, it all spends 48 months on the lees. Pale brassy gold with brassy reflections and intense perlage. The bouquet is elegant and intense, with wet breadcrumbs mingled with gunflint minerality and slight greenish accents, and pleasing sour lemony acidity. Quite a bit to say. On the palate it's quite nice, with clean lemony fruit that gains definition from slightly pungent gunflint minerality and creaminess from the sparkle, while it all flows into a clean bright sour lemon finish that lasts and lasts. Quite nice, and will be very nice as an aperitif, and also be nice with foods especially creamier dishes, ranging from pasta through fish and white meats. In short versatile, and will drink nicely in many situations. Worth seeking out.
Villa Cuvette Franciacorta 2005
Pale brassy yellow with fine perlage. The bouquet is elegant, with wet breadcrumbs mingled with gunflint minerality, delicate sour lemon acidity and sea salt, and though it's quick to write it's also quite pleasant to sniff. On the palate it's rich, with clean minerality supported by gunflint and some bitterness, while the sparkle confers creaminess, and it flows into a clean mineral finish with some breadcrumbs, and peppery accents from the sparkle. Pleasant, and will drink nicely as an aperitif or with foods; it is as are most of Villa's wines, quite versatile.
Villa Franciacorta Selezione Brut 2004
A prerelaese sample; it spends 5 years on the lees. Pale brassy gold with fine intense perlage. The bouquet is elegant, with greenish minerality supporting breadcrumbs and savory notes, and slight butterscotch as well that adds depth, while the fruit is greenish sour lemon. On the palate it's full and rich, with elegant slightly sour lemon fruit supported by deft minerality and creamy sparkle that has a pleasant savory underpinning, and flows into a clean fresh slightly citric finish. Very pleasant and displays considerable depth, though it's still young -- it was just disgorged and has yet to recover from the insult. By the time it leaves the cellars, in fall 2010, it will have.
Villa Franciacorta Selezione Brut 2001
This was disgorged in 2007 and has by now recovered. It's pale brassy yellow with slight greenish reflections and fine intense perlage. The bouquet is quite intense, with powerful slightly greenish gunflint minerality laced with breadcrumbs, though what really emerges is the gunflint, and also intriguing sour lemon acidity; it's quick to write but very harmonious and quite pleasant to sniff. On the palate it's ample and creamy with rich sour lemon fruit supported by mineral citric acidity and some gunflint bitterness, and flows into a clean fresh mineral finish. Quite nice, and has a great deal to say; it will drink nicely as an aperitif, but is a wine I would be more tempted to simply break out and enjoy with friends far from the table, Lots to say.
Villa Franciacorta Rosé Demisec 2006
Pale salmon with fine perlage. The bouquet is fairly rich, with delicate red berry fruit supported by breadcrumbs, savory accents, and some sweetness. On the palate it's ample, and sweet -- a demisec -- with moderately rich forest berry fruit supported by acidity and creaminess from the sparkle, which flow into a pleasant fairly sweet finish. A nice dessert wine that will drink well with creamy desserts and similar, and will also be something to break out with friends who want to enjoy a sparkle on a summer afternoon.
Villa Campèi Chardonnay IGT Sebino 2009
This is a new wine from the Campèi vineyard, and is soft pressed and fermented in steel. They decided to call it an IGT instead of a Curtefranca DOC because the DOC doesn't allow the mention of the varietal on the label. It's pale brassy white with brilliant brassy reflections. The bouquet is rich, with sweet honeydew melon and white berry fruit supported by pleasing vegetal notes and some underlying sweetness. On the palate it's ample and rich, with powerful loquat laced tropical fruit supported by greenish spice from grapes and warm slightly vegetal acidity that flows into a fairly long fruit laced finish. Pleasant in an opulent fruit driven key, and though it is still very young it is quite drinkable; it will be nice as an aperitif with egg or cheese based antipasti, and will also be nice with flavorful, not too fatty fish or white meat dishes. A nice addition to the line.
A Villa Satén Vertical
A Villa Selezione Brut Vertical
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Between Here And There - I took this shot during the Pelleginaggio Artusiano in the spring of 2011. The mirror is somewhere between Castrocaro Terme and Portico di Romagna (on the ...
4 years ago