Franciacorta La Montina is produced in accordance with the strict laws laid down by the ‘Consorzio Vini Franciacorta‘ (the body responsible for regulating the production and maintaining standards) of which it is a part. The laws governing the wine are the strictest in the world relating to the production of “Metodo Classico” (The Champagne or traditional Method) sparkling wine.
These rigid guidelines are designed for absolute quality.
The production of Franciacorta demands only the use of noble grape varieties, (Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Erbamat for the white and Pinot Noir for the red) and these must be hand harvested in baskets with a capacity of 18-20 kg.
Its key characteristic is derived from the natural second fermentation in the bottle and the subsequent slow maturation and refinement on the lees (dead yeast cells).
This period of maturation must be no less then 18 months for the non-vintage wine, 30 months for the vintage and at least 60 months for the Riserva.
The harvest, completed manually without affecting the grapes maturation, starts at the beginning of August allowing the grapes to maintain high acidity.
Since 1999 Gian Carlo Bozza and the winery staff have been using a unique vertical ‘Marmonier’ press constructed by local artisans and friends of the La Montina estate. The aim is to maximise the quality of the juice during the pressing and the use of this special press is extremely rare in Franciacorta, in fact it is one of only two available in the whole region. This type of mechanical press takes advantage of the full width of the vessel which has a diameter of 3 metres but a height limited to only 120 cm, to reduce the outflow time of the must and yet achieve a very soft pressing without breaking the skins and with a yield of 35%-40% juice. This soft pressing allows the berries to maintain all of their phenolic qualities which would largely be lost through an excessive, violent pressing.
The entire area devoted to the press is deliberately located above the winery so as to exploit the use of gravity to transfer the must, thus eliminating the need for pumps.
Depending on the grape variety, type of pressing and location of the original vineyard, the different musts are then divided between steel tanks and ‘barriques’ where they undergo the first fermentation.
At approximately seven months after the vintage, the base wines are carefully selected and bottled for the ‘tiraggio‘, the process of adding yeast and sugar to the bottle which in turn kick-starts the second fermentation.
Once tightly sealed, the bottles are carefully transferred to the cellar where they are manually laid down in large stacks and left to rest.
In the dark silence of the vault, the second fermentation starts and transforms the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide which creates the bubbles, the unmistakeable characteristic of Franciacorta.
After a long period of maturation on the lees, not less than 18 months (The non vintage Satèn and Rosé wines spend 24 months maturing, the vintage wines 30 months and the Riserva 60 months), ‘Remuage‘ ensues.
This is the process by which the sediment is gently encouraged to slide down the bottle to the neck where it is eventually expelled by ‘dégorgement‘. This is a mystical process unique to the traditional method of production and at one time was an indication of the skill of the cellar master who with a lightening quick snap of the wrist removed the cap, whilst loosing as little wine as possible.
Today, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the sediment is frozen solid by immersing the neck in a solution which freezes it to -28 degrees enabling its expulsion without the loss of the precious wine.
At this point the ‘liqueur d’exposition‘ is added. This is a sticky syrup composed of selected wines and sugar in variable concentrations depending on the final style of the wine, whether it be Extra Brut, (very dry), Brut, (dry) or Demi Sec, (medium dry). When the ‘liqueur’ is not added the wine is characterised as Pas Dosé.
Pas dosé or Dosaggio zero: < 3 g/l
Extra brut: ≤ 6 g/l
Brut: < 12 g/l
Extra dry: 12-17 g/l
Dry o Sec: 17-32 g/l
Demi sec: 33-50 g/l
Finally, the bottle is sealed with the distinctive anchored cork followed by a wire mesh and sleeve.