One day I was visiting my local wine shop, The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan, and while I was chatting with the owner and the staff, a “road warrior” came in, to have them sample some new wines that he was representing. The owner called for a glass for me as well, as some quick introductions were made. These two wines were from Barone Pizzini from the Franciacorta DOCG region. Franciacorta is in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is famed for its high-quality sparkling wines made ala Champagne, and not like Prosecco and Moscato D’Asti. The name Franciacorta was created by the Berlucchi Winery in the 1950’s when they introduced their sparkling wines to compete with Champagne. It slowly gained more and more acceptance; by 1967 Franciacorta DOC was created and in 1995 Franciacorta DOCG.
The Barone Pizzini Golf 1927 Franciacorta DOCG NV was the first wine that I was poured. Barone Pizzini specializes in very fine sparkling wines with a range of labels and wines in Franciacorta. In 1870, Enrico and Bernardino Pizzini Piomarta von Thurberg founded the Pizzini Farming Company. In 1967 Barone Pizzini was one of the first wineries to belong to Franciacorta DOC and the first vintage was in 1971. In 1927, Barone Edoardo Pizzini founded one of the first golf courses in Italy. The label depicts a female from that era and evokes the era of innovation as this is the first organic Franciacorta wine. This wine is pure Chardonnay and the fruit is harvested from twenty-five vineyards on deep moraine soil with sandy deposits created by former glacial river beds. The juice is from the initial gentle first pressing, fermentation occurs in Stainless Steel vats on the lees for eight months. Followed by about thirty months in the bottle still on the lees, in the Methode Traditionelle. I have to admit that most sparkling wines are to dry for me, but this wine I really enjoyed. The pale gold wine with tiny bubbles offered notes of orange zest and brioche. On the palate tones of yellow apples and hints of walnuts, with bright acidity and a finish begging for another taste.
The second wine that I had the good fortune to taste was Barone Pizzini Rosé Extra Brut Franciacorta 2016. Barone Pizzini covers forty-seven hectares and the vines average fifteen to twenty-years of age. In 1998, they were one of the first producers in the region to use organic farming methods. Part of the agreement by the consortium that pushed for the DOCG status was the elimination of Pinot Grigio among the vines. This wine is a blend of eighty percent Pinot Nero and twenty percent Chardonnay. The juice is from the first gentle pressing and is fermented for ten months on the lees in a mix of seventy percent Stainless Steel and thirty percent neutral oak. Then the wine is aged in bottle for an additional forty months on the lees using the Methode Traditionelle. This wine was a pretty salmon color with an abundance of small bubbles. The offered notes of red berries, brioche, herbs and pepper and a touch of balsamic. On the palate strawberry and pomegranate, silky, acidic with a savory smoky finish. This was my type of Extra Brut, as there was still some sugar to enjoy in this wine. It could work very easily with an appetizer or alongside dinner.