For winelovers, Christmas is a time when we look forward to drinking – and even sharing – a special bottle or two. This might be a classic wine with traditional fare or just something different we’ve wanted to try for a while. I asked some wine loving friends what they were looking forward to and they have kindly agreed to write a blog post for me.
Jean Smullen has been involved in the Irish wine trade for 26 years, including education, organising generic tastings for multitude of bodies, and communications through newspapers, TV and her radio spot on “Movies and Booze”.
This Christmas I will be drinking something fizzy from Italy that isn’t Prosecco! Franciacorta is a DOCG in Lombardy where they use French grapes to make sparkling wine using the traditional method (second fermentation in bottle The region’s reputation has been built on their outstanding bottle fermented sparkling wines. Franciacorta is Italy’s largest producer of metodo classico sparkling wines.
The different types of Franciacorta are distinguished by different dosages of liqueur de tirage added after disgorging. For example, Franciacorta Satèn is a style unique to the region. This blanc de blanc is made from (mostly) Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco. A Brut dosage of sugar less than 12 g/l is added and the resultant wine has less atmospheric pressure (4.5 vs the standard 6.0 atm); this means that this unique sparking style has less mousse and a softer finish.
Bellavista Alma Cuvée Brut RRP €45.99 at: 64 Wine; Donnybrook Fair, Green Man Wines, Jus de Vine, Terroirs, The Corkscrew, Mitchell & Son, The Wine Centre (Kilkenny), Baggot Street Wines, Clontarf Wines, and Searsons Wine Merchants.
This is made from 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Nero, and is a world class sparkling wine, on a par with Champagne, it simply says quality. The blending process is the key to this wine and hinges on the quality of the Reserve wines they use. One of the characteristics I found in sparkling wine from Franciacorta is a lovely floral aroma of white flowers, this has that but on the palate it has a soft subtle finish and a lovely gentle mousse. Bella Vista means “beautiful view” in this case it also means beautiful wine!
The full series of Wines at Xmas:
- Wines at Xmas #1 – Moscato d’Asti – Sam Logan of WinesDirect
- Wines at Xmas #2 – Champagne Pierre Moncuit – Jérémy Delannoy of SIYPS
- Wines at Xmas #3 – Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir – Carol Smaul of Gin & Griddle
- Wines at Xmas #4 – Ch Phelan Segur 2010 – Phil Green of Phil My Glass
- Wines at Xmas #5 – Charles Heidsieck & Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Tinto – Joe Coyle of Liberty Wines
- Wines at Xmas #6 – Bellavista Franciacorta – Jean Smullen of Movies + Booze
- Wines at Xmas #7 – Antoniolo Gattarina & Pfalz Riesling – Jim Dunlop
- Wines at Xmas #8 – Maison Róisín Curley & Le Grappin – Mick O’Connell MW
- Wines at Xmas #9 – Finca Allende Rioja & Weingut Winter Rheinhessen ‘Kloppberg’ Riesling – Colly Murray of RetroVino
- Wines at Xmas #10 – Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva Rioja & Warre’s Otima 10 Tawny Port – Kerri Judge of Febvre Wines
- Wines at Xmas #11 – Elio Perrone Moscato d’Asti – James Hubbard
- Wines at Xmas #12 – Furlan Rose & Ca’Salina Giorgia -Julia Phillips of Just Perfect Wines
- Wines at Xmas #13 – Mas Coutelou – Alan March of A March in the Vines
- Wines at Xmas #14 – Gere Kopar 2002 – Richie Magnier of A Motley Cru
- Wines at Xmas #15 – Moment of Silence 2015 Blank Bottle & Emilien Château le Puy 2014 – Barbara Boyle MW of WineMason
- Wines at Xmas #16 – Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2014 & Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2013 – Effi Tsournava of Maisons Marques et Domaines & effidrinkswine.com
- Wines at Xmas #17 – Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Pianrosso Brunello di Montalcino – Sorcha Holloway of Away With Wine