Maurizio Zanella, president of Ca' del Bosco, explains that Il Franciacorta is a wine, while La Franciacorta is the beautiful territory in Northern Italy where that wine is made.
Zanella describes the region as a "gift from God," a magical terroir between Milan and Venice, exactly between Lake Como and Lake Garda. And that, is where you'll find Ca' del Bosco. Literal translation? House in the forest.
Ca' del Bosco is still surrounded by forest, but now, Zanella says, they have vineyards as well. Ca' del Bosco is one of just over a hundred vintners in the Franciacorta region that produce some 20 million bottles of wine each year.
Just don't call it sparkling wine in front of Zanella. He says Ca' del Bosco doesn't make sparkling wine or Champagne or prosecco. They proudly make Franciacorta.
Zanella's mother bought the Ca' del Bosco property nearly 50 years ago.
Zanella was put there in exile, he says, because he was a troublemaker and his family didn't know what to do with him. So he started making wine. Zanella says he began with no plan, just passion.
Today, Ca' del Bosco is a beautiful, modern facility, well known for its wines as well as its art collection.
While not yet a museum, Zanella is sure it will become one someday. So many of their visitors come to see Ca' del Bosco's unique pieces of art from some of the most important artists in the world.
Franciacorta is made with three different types of grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot blanc. The vintners can decide what percentage to use.
Ca' del Bosco makes eight different Franciacorta. We tried two, both under $100.
As Zanella says, their wines are a luxury, but a luxury that almost all people can enjoy. Some people can afford Ca' del Bosco every day, others once a year.
The first Franciacorta we tried was Cuvée Prestige, a multi-vintage blended wine made mostly with grapes from the same year. To give the wine a consistent taste from year to year they add in grapes from other vintages, up to 30 percent. Zanella says they use their library of reserve wines to give this Franciacorta a classic Ca' del Bosco taste.
The second Franciacorta we tried was the 2007 Annamaria Clementi Rosé. This very special wine was named for Zanella's mother. It needs to mature for 10 years before release, nine of those years on yeast. This wine is made with 100 percent pinot noir grapes.
Both of the wines are delicious on their own but pair beautifully with almost anything.
Zanella only advises against serving Franciacorta with sweets or game. Otherwise he says, drink Franciacorta with just about anything.