Ca’del Bosco Franciacorta: A Work of Art Called Wine

21st June 2016

Ca'del Bosco Franciacorta: A Work of Art Called Wine

If wine is art, Ca’del Bosco’s masterpiece is called Franciacorta and bears the unique, inimitable signature of Maurizio Zanella, Ca’del Bosco is the leading brand of bubblies with ultra-fine perlage bearing the name of the zone they’re made in, Franciacorta.

A position reached thanks to the enthusiasm and passion of Maurizio Zanella who in the early 70s understood and pursued his ‘artistic’ vocation, playing a starring role in the Italian wine renaissance and transforming a house in an oak wood into a vanguard, state-of-the-art winery.

At Ca’del Bosco there is a single principle behind and defining all its production, from grape selection to bottling: quality, or better, only the highest level of quality, excellence. Its wines must meet the prerequisites that make fortotal drinking pleasure: absolute balance and perfect harmony.

Ca’del Bosco enology assists the natural expression of grape quality and typicality, which depends on their varieties and how the vines are grown. Winery philosophy is based on using technology to get full expression of the grapes and thus make the finest wines possible. Every batch of grapes harvested has a unique personality to be revealed and directed towards its highest expression.

Ca’del Bosco has defined the vocation of a winemaking district, Franciacorta – a territory that enables Chardonnay in particular to reach full ripeness with the highest concentration of scents.

To make these great wines you need high-performance technology. Ca’del Bosco believes and has invested a great deal in this, creating a technologically vanguard cellar with installations unique in the sector so it can optimally manage pre-fermentation operations for whites and maceration for the reds, crucial stages in vinification.

Ca’del Bosco’s history is a lovely one and began in the mid-1960s when Annamaria Clementi Zanella bought in Erbusco, Franciacorta, a little house on a hill, locally called ‘Ca’del bosc’ and surrounded by dense oak woods.

In 1968 the idea of planting a vineyard was concretized, and Maurizio Zanella, Annamaria’s son and now president of Ca’del Bosco, embarked on the road to astonishing poetry: vineyard and wine became a symphony and the concert of ideas took on the vastness of art. A striving for perfection, for a masterpiece, defined the project and goals for the vineyard, the choice of vine types and the planting methods. Then came the hard work and research, sustained by enthusiasm and obstinacy.

Maurizio Zanella toured the caves of Champagne and on his return set out on the Italian path to premium sparkling. After a first experimental period, Ca’del Bosco releases the first white wine Bianco di Franciacorta in 1972 and the first red wine Rosso di Franciacorta in 1977.

Later, during one of his wine-education trips to France, Maurizio Zanella met and recruited a chef de cave (coincidentally named André Dubois – “of the wood”) who brought with him great meticulousness and expertise.


Cadel Bosco’s first wines

Under André Dubois’ direction Ca’ del Bosco began to make truly excellent bubblies.

With the 1976 vintage the first three “spumante’ were made: the Brut, the Dosage Zero and the Rosé, released between December 1978 and 1979. With the 1978 vintage production of the Crémant began, going on the market in 1980.

At age 18, Maurizio Zanella built the first cellar 11 meters below ground, as he had seen them do in France. On the basis of what he had learned beyond the Alps he adopted criteria that in Italy were deemed questionable to say the least, such as drastically increasing vine density per acre and using different vinetraining systems or thinning out the bunches (a technique that local grape-growers refused to use, considering it an insult to common sense, although they would later follow suit).

In the early 70s the reigning grape-growing and winemaking criterion was quantity over quality, and wine was still considered to be a kind of foodstuff that had to be low-price.

Another milestone was the arrival of an American enologist, who worked with Dubois from 1985 to 1988. This was Brian Larky, with a degree from the University of California at Davis. This was an important time for the winery, characterized by Zanella’s great ability to mediate between two completely opposite enological schools of thought, between tradition and experimentation, trying, obviously, to reap the best from both.

In 1986 enologist Stefano Capelli came on board, with a diploma from the Conegliano institute. Since 1990 he has had full jurisdiction over the cellar, and thanks to him innovative work systems have been perfected and equipment with exclusive patents devised.

It took seven years to complete the new Ca’del Bosco cellar, immersed in the greenery of the vineyards and the Franciacorta woodlands. It was enlarged from 10,000 to 20,000 sq m.

Maurizio Zanella’s goal was not to double output but to create a cellar equipped with the latest technology. Technology that assists the grapes and reduces wine treatments to a minimum. Its purpose is to enhance the characteristics of excellent raw material, intervening with external agents as little as possible.

Glass of Bubbly

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