Bellavista Franciacorta Alma Cuvee Brut
This remarkable operation, masterminded by owner Vittorio Moretti and winemaker Mattia Vezzola (Gambero Rosso Winemaker of the Year 2008), combines grandeur and star quality with familiarity and simplicity. The estate’s larger-than-life facilities, 3,280 feet of underground cellars, impressive contemporary architecture (helipad included), and 1,250 surrounding acres of Franciacorta soil – 462 acres of which are now under vine – leave you awestruck. Moretti founded the estate in 1977, and the first bottle of Franciacorta was released in 1979. The winery philosophy: "Every objective we reach is merely the starting point for a higher objective." In over a quarter of a century, the style of Bellavista has become a benchmark to the DOCG. Its vineyards now constitute 8% of the entire appellation, in extraordinarily favorable positions. Franciacorta’s limestone/clayey soil, richly endowed with the same elements as Champagne, is enhanced by such quality details as in-depth genetic research, organic-only fertilization, phased out harvests, parcelled out crops (over eighty selections, separately fermented in oak/stainless steel), Marmonnier and Coquard presses, up to six years’ bottle age in the cellars, refermentation directly in the bottle for the larger format sparkling wines, remuage by hand for all sparkling wines, etc... Both still and sparkling wines are from prime hillside vineyards, clonally selected material and densely planted stock. The past couple of years have seen yet another phase in the estate’s constant crescendo: increasing élevage, on average from 36 to 48 months, so as to achieve the greatest possible quality consistency and personality.
Containing an exciting mix of wine producing subregions, Lombardy is Italy’s largest in size and population. Good quality Pinot noir, Bonarda and Barbera have elevated the reputation of the plains of Oltrepò Pavese. To its northeast in the Alps, Valtellina is the source of Italy’s best Nebbiolo wines outside of Piedmont. Often missed in the shadow of Prosecco, Franciacorta produces collectively Italy’s best Champagne style wines, and for the fun and less serious bubbly, find Lambrusco Mantovano around the city of Mantua. Lugana, a dry white with a devoted following, is produced to the southwest of Lake Garda.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.