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.
Chardonnay and Pinot Nero
The regulations of the Franciacorta Consortium include the possibility of using two additional types of white grapes, namely Pinot Bianco and Erbamat.
More information about the regulations and types of wines are available on the Franciacorta Consortium website.
The Pinot Nero vine is considered one of the noblest of the world’s red grape varieties. It belongs to the group of so-called “international” vines, is of French origin and is widely cultivated all over the world. It is a difficult vine, both during cultivation and winemaking. The vine is also extremely sensitive to terroirs, leading to very different interpretations depending on the production area.
The neutral colour of its pulp also makes it suitable for white winemaking, giving rise to a wine that is the best base for the production of sparkling wines, especially when mixed with Chardonnay, which gives it body, complexity and also a remarkable longevity.
For these reasons Pinot Nero is used above all in the Millesimati and in the Reserve del Franciacorta DOCG, to which it offers structure and longevity; it is also an indispensable component for the Franciacorta Rosé cuvées, where it must comprise at least 25% of the wine.
The Chardonnay vine is native to Burgundy and is one of the most cultivated white grape varieties in the world.
Its incredible variety of aromatic components emerges in different ways depending on the soil and the climates where it is grown.
Wine obtained from this vine is endowed with excellent consistency, an intense, fragrant and complex aroma with varietal hints of fruit and flowers, a good structure and pleasant freshness.
Chardonnay is mainly used in the production of base wines for Franciacorta DOCG and to a lesser extent in the Curtefranca Bianco still wine.
The Chardonnay vine constitutes at least 50% of the Franciacorta Satèn mixed vintage.