Learning how to taste a Franciacorta means learning to fully savour a product that is an example of Italian excellence. To do this, you don’t need to be an expert. You just need to turn on your senses and keep listening.
But understanding a wine also means appreciating a complex undertaking in all its nuances. Because every Berlucchi Franciacorta is the result of a specific idea in the mind of an expert winemaker, which only took shape after many attempts. It takes years of research before a new wine is developed and brought to the market.
So properly appreciating a Franciacorta is a bit like entering a world full of history, sensations and people.
Welcome to that world.
For a “do it yourself” guided tasting, you can practice by consulting the technical data sheet for each wine. The data sheets are available on this website on the page corresponding to each wine.
The best way to appreciate the colour of the wine is to tilt the glass at eye level, in front of a white background. Colour is the first impression we have of a wine and, along with aroma, it can provide useful information even before tasting. We can immediately see if we are tasting a white or a rosé Franciacorta, but in both cases there are countless nuances. Bright or dark, pale or intense, with cold or warm and coppery shades. A bright, cold colour makes us think of a young wine, while a warmer color suggests a few more years of ageing. It is a white wine, but can we see a coppery nuance? We could be looking at a Blanc de Noirs.
Another important feature to observe is the perlage, or bubbles. To observe them properly, it is important not to shake the glass. They can vary in both size and quantity. Our Berlucchi Satèn, for example, has a fine perlage that is immediately recognisable as silky on the palate.
A good Franciacorta has fine, persistent bubbles, which continue to develop once the wine is in the glass.
To smell the aroma of a Franciacorta simply bring the glass to your nose. Inhale a couple of times while holding the glass still, taking care to exhale away from the glass. You can continue to inhale while waving the glass very slightly, just to help the volatile molecules move upwards. But remember, waving does not mean shaking.
The aroma of a Franciacorta is typically yeasty. Think of the scent of dough, or the fragrance of freshly baked crusty bread or croissants.
But in fact, there are numerous different aromas, and they can be divided into three categories. The primary aromas of flowers and fruit, which come from the grapes. The secondary aromas, arising from fermentation. And the tertiary aromas, resulting from evolution and ageing on the lees or in wooden barrels. The aromas are also split into families: aromatic, vinous, floral, fruity, fragrant, herbaceous, spicy, toasted, and ethereal.
Don’t be afraid of this complexity. A little practice with the wine data sheet will help you recognise each scent.
Finally it ‘s time to taste your Franciacorta. To do this, just sip it slowly, savouring it for a few seconds before swallowing.
Flavours, in the true sense of the word, are those the taste buds recognise directly: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. And then there are retro-olfactory aromas: these are the specific flavours, for example of lemon or peach, that we recognise through the synergy between the taste buds and the sense of smell.
During tasting, we also distinguish between sensations known as “softness”: given by sugars, alcohols and polyalcohols; and on the other hand sensations recognised as “hardness”: given by acids, tannins and mineral substances.
With the classic method it is normal for hardness to be especially marked. Indeed, a good dose of acidity is essential to ensure the longevity of these wines, and it is in turn underlined by the tactile sensation of the bubbles. The addition of a little sugar in the dosage syrup together with long ageing, on the other hand, bring softness to the wine, with the goal of finding the right balance.
The flavour can vary in intensity and persistency. In the former case, as the term suggests, it is about how strongly the taste is perceived, while the latter is about how long it remains as a perception on the palate after sipping.
The goal of a correct pairing is to ensure that a morsel of food followed by a sip of wine leaves a pleasant and harmonious flavour in the mouth. The combination of food and wine should create a mixture of flavours that enhances both. Some combinations work by contrast: for example a fatty dish calls for a wine with good acidity. Others work by harmony: for example, it is always better to pair sweet wines with desserts.
Franciacortas are fortunate wines, because they are very versatile and offer a variety of intensities and structures. There is an ideal Franciacorta for any dish, from appetisers and light first courses to intense main courses and desserts.
8-10°C o 10-12 °C, depending on the bottle.
8-10°C or 10-12°C, depending on the bottle.
Removing the bottle from a normal domestic refrigerator (4°C/6°C) just before serving is all that is required. Once in the glass, the temperature of the Franciacorta will be perfect.
An ice bucket (or “thermal sleeve”) can be useful for quickly bringing the wine to the desired temperature and preserving it on hot summer days.
After removing the capsule (the aluminum foil that covers the cork) it is important to loosen the wire hood with a firm hand on the cork, so it will not suddenly pop out. Then, light circular movements of the cork will be enough to make it come out spontaneously. Etiquette advises not opening the bottle in such a way as to cause the traditional pop: just tilt the cork and the gas will escape gently. But if you really want to party, let it go with a bang!
We recommend the tulip-shaped glass, designed to bring out the bouquet and perlage of your Berlucchi Franciacorta to the full.
In the event that some wine is left over, we recommend using the classic stopper: a special cork for sparkling wines that hermetically seals the bottle and preserves the froth.
The bottle can then be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator, in an upright position.