This year, make Valentine’s Day extra special by opening an exciting bottle of pink Franciacorta bubbles as a seductive start for the perfect romantic evening, whether you stay in or dine out.
We have entered the month of love and Valentine’s Day is approaching fast.
This year, are you making plans to head out for a romantic dinner or rather say in for a cosy meal with your Valentine?
Either way, make sure to surprise your significant other with a glass of excellent rosé bubbles and an easy appetizer as the start of a romantic evening.
If you’d ask me what bottle to open, I’d say to go for something a bit unusual. Of course, champagne is always a fantastic choice. But there are so many exciting sparkling wines out there these days, so why not use the moment to impress with your expertise and present a great bottle from a lesser-known wine region?
Franciacorta DOCG was Italy’s first DOCG classified sparkling wine made according to the traditional method. Indeed, to classify as DOCG it’s mandatory that second fermentation is taking place in the bottle.
Background: Franciacorta Wine Region
Ranking amongst the leading winemaking regions globally that produce outstanding sparkling wines, Franciacorta still remains a hidden gem. Yet it is said to produce Italy’s best sparkling wines and is often compared to Champagne for a range of similar characteristics.
Sandwiched between Mount Orphan in the southwest, Oglio River in the west, beautiful Lake Iseo to the north, and the city of Brescia in the east, Franciacorta in northern Lombardy is one of the Italy’s smaller winegrowing regions. Yet the area offers abundant culinary experiences and a beautiful scenery of rolling hills covered in vineyards along many cultural and historic sites waiting to be explored.
The first vineyards here were planted in ancient times but the real success story of Franciacorta sparkling wines started in the early sixties. After an apprenticeship at Moet et Chandon in Champagne, Franco Ziliani became winemaker at Guido Berlucchi in 1961, where he was the first in the area to make sparkling wine.
Franciacorta sparkling wine are made from Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir with a maximum of 50% Pinot Blanc. Non-vintage sparkling wines must mature at least 18 months on the lees. Meanwhile rosé versions must contain at least 25% Pinot Noir with a maximum of 15% of autochthone grape variety Erbamat is allowed since 2017. Rosé Franciacorta must mature on the lees for a minimum of 24 months.
In 1977, businessman Vittorio Moretti from nearby Brescia, decided to transform a small local winemaking business with just few hectares of vineyards into what should become one of the three leading sparkling wine producers in Franciacorta. Bellavista is nestled just south of Lake Iseo and its around 200 hectares of vineyards are sitting in some of the most prestigious areas of Franciacorta.
Bellavista mostly grows Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and makes a range of outstanding vintage and non-vintage sparkling wines along with a few still wines.
Tasting Notes: Bellavista Rosé Franciacorta Brut DOCG 2016
Bellavista Rosé Brut is made of 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir. It’s the Pinot Noir, which comes from a single vineyard, that adds the distinctive pinkish colour and provides depth and stability.
Made in a rare vinification method, more than 30 vintage base wines are chosen. Some will be matured in small white oak barres and will finally be combined with great care and will then mature in the bottle for at least 5 years from the vintage year. Only a limited quantity will be made each year.
In the glass, an intense salmon pink with orange hues, a white foam wreath and very fine, dense and persistent perlage.
On the nose, subtle notes of white peach followed by pleasing and powerful aromas of wild strawberries, citrus, green apple, rose hip and a hint of freshly toasted bread.
On the palate, fresh and pleasantly dry with a balanced structure and a delightful subtle texture. Pleasent notes of blackcurrant, wild berries, and sweet almond. Long lasting finish.
Bellavista Rosé is a delightful sparkler that is perfect as aperitif but also pairs well with a wide range of appetizers, shellfish, prosciutto, risotto, and pasta with delicate sauces.
Recipe: Smoked Salmon Pâté
If you are looking for an easy appetizer that works for any occasion, you will never go wrong with a smoked salmon pâté.
Makes 4 – 6 servings
150 g smoked salmon trimmings
200 g soft cheese
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 stalks dill, chopped
In a small bowl, mix cheese, crème fraiche, and lemon juice. Season with black pepper. Add the salmon trimmings and using a handheld blender, puree until obtaining the desired consistency. Just pulse a few times to just combine or puree until obtaining a smooth and pinkish mousse.
Lightly stir in the dill.
The paté will keep in the fridge for two to three days, so it’s perfect to make ahead. Take it out of the fridge about one hour before serving.
By the way, in case you are planning a Valentine’s dinner at home, you might want to go the extra mile and swap the make-ahead appetizer with these absolutely delicious crispy coconut shrimp. They will work perfectly with the Bellavista Rosé as well.