Although Franciacorta are constantly among the best Italian sparkling wines, it is worth remembering that it is a productive zone born at the end of the 70s and officially recognized with the DOCG only in 1995. The name of the area comes from the Latin “curtes francae” (free courts) and this would seem to indicate that in the Early Middle Ages (between the sixth and eleventh centuries) those lands were exempt from paying tribute, a privilege granted to the small communities of Benedictines who inhabited them. As is well known, in monastic settlements wine was a necessity in order to celebrate Mass, but this does not imply that wine was produced by the monks themselves. Even the name of the capital of this area of 200 square kilometers, Erbusco, would seem to be an Italianization of the Lombard “der busche” (the forest) and would indicate the woody vocation, and not agricultural, of the area.
It is certain that these historical sources have been used admirably by Franciacorta producers to build an evocative and fascinating narrative able to accompany their sparkling wines, as in the case of the winery Derbusco Cives, whose name simply means “citizens of Erbusco” or “citizens of the forest”. It is a winery born in the center of Erbusco, in 2004, by the work of Luigi Dotti, Stefano Pedrotti, Maria Paola Redoglio, Dario and Giuseppe Vezzoli, five friends who put themselves in the head an ambitious and challenging idea: creating the best Franciacorta of all. Obviously the project needs time, but I don’t think it’s too much to say that the winery started off on the right foot, judging from the very first wines on the market.
The winery has 12.5 hectares of vineyards located on the moraine hills surrounding Erbusco, the most prestigious quality area, planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested only at full maturity and then with a lower starting acidity, a problem that is solved by working on the yield during pressing, well below 60% (the maximum percentage allowed for those who want to use only the free-run must). After fermentation and an aging of about six months (partially in barrique and always in separate parcels), the wines are blended and then bottled without the addition of cane sugar, and let the yeast age for longer than required by the disciplinary. Doppio Erre Di for example, a Franciacorta Brut made of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, whose name means Ritardato Degorgement Recentemente Degorgiato (Delayed Disgorging Recently Disgorged), is a wine that ages 30 months (against the 18 expected) and placed on the market just disgorged (also liqueur d’expédition does not contain sucrose), without further refining with the mushroom cap.
In the glass the wine has a pretty intense straw yellow color joined to a thin perlage, fine but constant, with an olfactory range opening on notes of nectarine and ripe yellow plum, hawthorn and cedar peel, together with kumquat, millefiori honey, pastry cream and croissants. The palate is characterized by great roundness and softness, with a delicious creaminess of the light perlage and a good sapid/mineral component; all accompanied by the return of ripe yellow fruit and croissants that lead the sip to an excellent length closing.
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