In wine, assessment is a slow business because one stops so often to take note and to take notes. Wine demands the activity of putting down into the well a number of tangent travelled thoughts. If ever the creative well should run dry, simply venture across the pond to spend some time in a place like Franciacorta. Witness the water table rise.
November is a sublime time to visit the province of Brescia and the cellars of Franciacorta. The villages of Erbusco and Iseo decelerate with approaching dormancy and only the distant mountains are blanketed by the snows of winter. The recently completed vintage is safely tucked away, slumbering peacefully in ancient caves. Early morning fog begs to be habituated and when the sun shines Erbusco beckons with its hidden monuments, stashed away secrets and treasures buried around every corner. The Friday market at Iseo bustles and passively hustles. The Oglio River lies to the west, while Lago Iseo winds in the undertow of the snow-capped Dolomite Mountains on the jagged tablature horizon.
On the grounds of L’Albereta a sculpture garden blends into the landscape and it can be imagined camouflaged, though always available for discovery hundreds of years from now, even if the architecture has been completely altered.
Created to celebrate the third millennium, the Parco delle Sculture is a genuine open-air museum where thirteen contemporary art sculptures wind their way across 61,000 hectares of parkland, from L’Albereta to the nearby “Bellavista” and “Contadi Castaldi” wineries, in an intriguing dialogue with nature.
VistaLago Bistrò, L’Albereta
Notes on Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi
Market day in Iseo
The island of Monteisola on Lago Iseo
Looking for lunch in all the right places
We need this in Ontario
Bellavista wines at L’Albereta
Gambero Rosso Welcome Dinner at Leon Felice, L’Albereta Relais & Châteaux
by Executive Chef Fabio Abbattista
With Luigi Salermo, Marco Sabellico, Lorenzo Ruggeri and Tiina Eriksson, our hosts from Gambero Rosso.
Cuttlefish, chicory and Taggiasche olive
Bellavista Convento Ss. Annunciata Curtefranca Bianco 2011, Franciacorta (Winery)
From a 5.45 hectare vineyard, in homage to the friars of Mount Orphane dating back to 1449, Chardonnay meant to age with ancient tradition always tucked safely into the slow release, micro-oxyganted back pocket. Scents of lemony green and rose. Wood relations are important, fig and lactic notes apparent and this is stretched but weighty, very elastic Chardonnay. If the verve seems to be waning it must be understood that this wine begins, travels and ends this way. Bellavista is the chosen one to make wine from “a unique and unrepeatable section of vineyard, the expression of an ancient tradition.” Drink 2015-2022. Tasted November 2015
Cappelletti with burnt wheat, rabbit and anchovy butter
Bellavista Gran Cuvée Rosé 2010, Franciacorta
Piemontese (razza bovina Piemontese) white Beef Filet with Pizzaiolo sauce
Bellavista Nectar S.A., Franciacorta (Winery)
A demi-sec produced using exclusively Chardonnay grapes from at least 30 different vineyards located on high hillside plots with ideal south exposures. Over 30 per cent of the fermentation takes place in small white oak casks. A balanced, pure, creamy, mellifluous honey dessert wine of a sweetness that hides in shadows. The question begs. How can this be demi-sec? Drink 2015-2018. Tasted November 2015
Green apple sorbet, celery and passion fruit nectar
In the evening
In the morning
The purpose of the event was a journey of oenological discovery (Meraviglioso), music and gastronomy at the hands of Chef Vittorio Fusari.
In anticipation of Meraviglioso
Riserva Vittorio Moretti Magnum 2008, Franciacorta (Winery)
Bellavista Meraviglioso Mathusalem Studio Vendemmia 2004, Franciacorta
Bellavista Curtefranca Bianco Vendemmia Storica 1995, Franciacorta (Winery)
It was a simple wine back then. Good luck and providence in this part of the world have made this wine so special. In 1995, it rained for 40 days. I know. I was in Italy for 17 days in August that summer. In September botrytis developed but low temperatures ending up concentrating the grapes flesh and thickened the berries over a course of five to six days. Harvest saw brown grapes and 12,000 bottles made were made. That it has survived for so many years is not surprising. It is impossible. The link goes to Mattia having seen an Yquem harvest in the 1970’s. How long to keep? Until 2075. “So I’m very hopeful for this wine.” When my father moved from his house in 2005 he asked me to take his “cellar.” Of the 17 bottles, there was a 1970 labeled Chablis. Burgundy. No producer. I brought it home and thought waiting even one more day would be one more day to long. It was perfect, alive, on the straddled line of oxidative, had been there and might stay there for 20 more years. Like this 1995. Ethereal. Rich, elegantly, gently sweet, so fine. Why not see what 20 more years can do. Drink 2015-2035. Tasted November 2015
The last morning
Until next time
Good to go!
WineAlign: Michael Godel