Franciacorta: The Italian equivalent of Champagne

What happens at an Italian dinner table, stays at the table. But what happens in a vineyard at Franciacorta becomes a story.

The mere mention of Franciacorta evokes memories of a vineyard estate. Waking up in a quaint villa surrounded by lush green vineyards and picturesque valleys, munching the fresh produce of fruits and vegetables, and preparing for a day at the farm, plucking grapes in the summer, and pruning the plant in harsh winter while discussing life with fellow workers. And when the dawn breaks in, drowning away the day’s tiredness into the bubbly and aromatic wine.

Franciacorta is indeed a blessed land—untouched by tourism—where the pristine nature and pleasant climate of Lake Iseo along with gentle breezes flowing from Val Camonica caves have nurtured the picturesque vineyards sprawling in the backdrops of medieval villages, majestic fortresses and splendid villas. This unique topography and climate have given birth to a truly unique Italian way of life, where wine is the key element.

Just so you know. Not every Italian sparkling wine is a Prosecco. Franciacorta, which literally means “short France '' is an allusion to the North Italy’s wine region that produces wine at par with the finest quality French champagnes. The differences between a Prosecco and a Franciacorta wine are quite recognizable. Prosecco is more fruity and exudes a floral aroma, while Franciacorta wins over the tastebuds with its citric and spicy notes. Prosecco feels light and savory on the palate, while the fresh Franciacorta wine is richer and more elegant in taste.

Located merely an hour drive from Milan and even less from Bergamo, Franciacorta makes for an ideal short break to explore Italian wine culture or spend years around practising to become a wine connoisseur. For a visitor, a must-do thing in Franciacorta is to take a wine tasting tour from the local producers, who would walk you through their vineyards, cellars and wineries. It is an experience, offering not just a glimpse into their lifestyle, their family history, stories and struggles but also a peep into their well-kept secrets and behind the scenes exploration at the vine estate.

When in Franciacorta, another thing to not miss out on is a trip to Guido Berlucchi. It is where the history of Franciacorta wine began. Their estate, Palazzo Lana along with its vineyard is a fine blend of craft and nature, a perfect cosmos for something truly unique to originate. When on the wine tour at Palazzo Lana, take a trip down the history into the cellar, which still exhibits their vintage “firstborn” Franciacorta bottle.

The best time to visit Franciacorta is during summer when the region is in a festive mode, celebrating the harvest season at Franciacorta Summer Festival. It is a gastronomic delight for those looking to immerse themselves in the authentic flavours and aroma of the Franciacorta vine and make new friends. Make sure to meet as many local wine producers, try out their wine and hear their stories because each one would have a unique tale to tell.

In Franciacorta, there is a saying, “to make a friend you just need a glass of wine, but to keep a friend you need a barrel.”

So why not sit down with one in Franciacorta where there is always laughter in the air, along with clinking of glasses, chattering of humans followed by a brief pause. And then even more laughter, but this time accompanied by the sweet smell of local Franciacorta wine wafting across the plains and luring you to be a part of the merriment.