How Ca’del Bosco Franciacorta is Made
3rd June 2016
Ca’del Bosco explains how they create their fantastic Franciacorta, from grape to bottle.
The Ca’del Bosco harvest begins around August 20th with the grapes destined for the ‘base’ of Franciacorta, the Chardonnay, picked strictly by hand and collected into small crates holding about 15 to 17 kg each. Picking the base grapes for the noble DOCG bubblies continues for about three weeks, from the Chardonnay going on to the Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco.
The ‘berry spa’
Like all fruit, grape berries – and so wine – carry a large number of more or less harmful substances, some of them natural in origin. First and foremost are the mycotoxins produced by parasitic fungi, which may be present as microflora on harvested grapes. Grape skins can also carry infinitesimal amounts of polluting agents present in the environment. Obviously, grapes will also bear residual traces of pesticides.
On the berry, in the must, in the lees, in the waste pressings. And in the wine. This concentration of undesirable substances can be reduced by washing the grapes. After hand-harvesting and chilling, the cases of Ca’del Bosco grapes are carefully emptied.
Manual selection of all the bunches follows as everything that is not good enough to become must is removed. That is when grape washing begins (we started washing all the grapes with harvest 2008).
A series of three soaking vats transports the floating bunches by bubbling air, with a final drying section so that the must is not diluted. It is no more or less than a spa treatment for grapes, in three stages. Our berry spa brings many quality-related benefits which are particularly obvious as soon as you consider the fermentative metabolism of the grapes – no more reduced aromas or unexpressed nuances.
After about 3 weeks devoted to harvesting and pressing the DOCG, the Curtefranca Bianco grapes are picked, a job that lasts about 15 days until the red grapes begin to ripen. The earliest red grapes are the Merlot, followed by Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Barbera. Picking and pressing usually ends by mid- October, meaning that the initial stage of winemaking lasts a couple of months.
This second stage is prior to bottling. The wine is kept in stainless steel vats until the spring following fermentation, during which time it clarifies and takes on its characteristic color.
The third stage is the ‘presa di spuma’” in which the wine becomes sparkling and definitively “Franciacorta”. To the clarified wine is added a solution of sugar – about 24 grams of sugar per liter – and active yeasts. The wine is bottled on the same day and sealed with a temporary crown cap.
The capped bottles are kept at a constant temperature of 12° C for at least two years. During the first 2 to 3 months occurs the presa di spuma, a slow fermentation in which the yeasts convert the sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide is created, giving the wine its sparkle, and internal pressure in the bottles rises to about 6 atmospheres.
The process then continues with the “remuage” (riddling) technique so that sediment is pushed upwards towards the temporary crown cap, collecting in the narrowest part of the bottle’s neck.
The fourth and final stage entails eliminating the sediment that has deposited against the crown cap in the neck of the upended bottle. To remove it the procedure consists of freezing about 3 centimeters of the bottle’s neck; this forms a plug of ice that is expelled when the cap is removed thanks to the pressure inside the bottle. After this, and after adding more sugary solution, the bottles are definitively sealed with corks and packaged for sale.
Glass of Bubbly
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