The Berlucchi Franciacorta 61 Rose’ Brut is a non vintage blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay sourced from grapes grown in Berlucchi Estate vineyards in the Franciacorta DOCG region of Lombardy in northern Italy. The Berlucchi Franciacorta Rose’ is made in the Traditional Method (same as Champagne from France) which differs from the usual Prosecco or Spumante from Italy which is produced with the Charmat Method (clink on the link for a quick rundown on Sparkling wine from Wine for Dummies). Italian Sparkling wine out sells Champagne in terms of volume sold, but Champagne leads by a wide margin in terms dollars and cents. Champagne has been hugely successful in marketing themselves as the Rolls Royce of wines and most Sparkling wine producers avoid direct competition, but not Berlucchi and the Sparkling wines of Franciacorta. The grapes are grown in high end DOCG (Italy’s highest quality classification) vineyards using the same grape varietals as Champagne and the Bubbly is produced to standards that are actually more stringent than Champagne. The Berlucchi Franciacorta 61 Rose’ lists for $34.99, which would be on the low end of comparable non vintage Champagne. This is a Brut Bubbly (meaning not sweet) and the alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color is a combination of barbie doll pink and apricot, with a steady stream of lively tiny bubbles (smaller and tighter bubbles usually indicates the finer quality of the Sparkling wine). The nose is slightly yeasty, with a bit of buttered bread and subtle notes of cherry and raspberry. The mouthfeel is a pleasing mix of tart and crisp, along with smooth and velvety. This is a very delicately flavored Bubbly, tart cherry, strawberry in cream, a slap of minerality, a little lemon/lime, brioche and pink grapefruit are all in the mix. The acidity is well balanced, giving this Bubbly a good deal of length to allow the various flavors to unfold. The finish is full and lengthy.
The Berlucchi Franciacorta 61 Rose’ Brut is a very fine Sparkling wine. It is an extremely well balanced Bubbly, it tastes classy, which is exactly the feeling a first class Sparkling wine should give you. When people think of Holiday or celebration Bubbly, they have been conditioned to think of Champagne. The Sparkling wines of Champagne are wonderful, the best wine I ever had, was a sublime Grower/Producer Champagne. But not every single offering from Champagne is without reproach, there IS room for alternative Bubbly. Italian Americans, I’m talking to you, this is the Bubbly you should be pouring for weddings, anniversaries, family celebrations and NYE. Hipsters on the look out for something before it becomes trendy? Well, I got one for you. And the rest of you, try it, you’ll like it.