Franciacorta is located in the heart of Lombardy just a stone’s throw from Milan, overlooking the shores of Iseo Lake in an area of about 200 square kilometres that includes 19 municipalities of the Province of Brescia.
Its gentle hills bordered to the west by the Oglio River and to the northeast by the last offshoots of the Rhaetian Alps owe their very ancient origins to the glaciers that retreated from here over 10,000 years ago, creating the amphitheatre from which Franciacorta arose.
Due to the lack of exhaustive historical documentation, the origin of the name “FRANCIACORTA” is difficult to interpret and define today. The most reliable hypothesis is that the term Franciacorta derives from “curtes francae”, or frank courts, which were free zones exempted from the payment of taxes.
The term refers to those small communities of Benedictine monks which settled in a hilly area near Iseo Lake in the Early Middle Ages. They were exempted from the payment of duties to the Lords and the Bishop for the transportation and trade of their goods to other States or possessions, as the friars were dedicated to the reclamation of the assigned territories and showed the peasants how to cultivate the fields.
The main features of Franciacorta’s soil of morainic origins are an enormous wealth of additional minerals which are different from those deriving only from the rocks that are present today: this is the fundamental basis for its quality viticulture.
Other important characteristics of the lands of Franciacorta are their conformation, which develops along rolling hills, and their granulometry: elements that facilitate the rapid removal of excess water, largely avoiding water stagnation, and other factors that predispose lands to the most common diseases.
In the second half of the nineties a scrupulous zoning study was conducted in the viticultural territory of Franciacorta by the University of Milan under the guidance of Attilio Scienza in order to use a scientific approach to define the oenological vocation of the internal basin, studying and evaluating the effect of the set of geopedological, morphological and climatic characteristics of the territory on the productive and qualitative performance of the vineyard.
Six vocational units were identified: six different terroirs which testify to the heterogeneity and richness of Franciacorta winemaking, with soils varying in texture, fertility and drainage capacity, which in turn determine different vegetative-productive behaviours, different ripening dynamics in the grapes and finally sensory characteristics in the base wines.
The pedological study and the drafting of vocational units for Franciacorta (and Curtefranca) guaranteed the opportunity to carry out more conscientious production and have more secure expectations of the final product, as each has distinctive characteristics and each adds a certain type of peculiarity to the grapes.
Well aware of how much the different subsoil conformations change each wine, La Montina decided to cultivate vineyards in areas of Franciacorta belonging to different vocational units.