Wines can be discovered in a lot of ways. But the best one includes going to the place where wine has been produced, tread on the soil that has brought it to life and enter the cellars where it has been refined.
Christmas and New Year mean making time for family and sharing the festive spirit. They also mean gifts. Maybe a trip, if possible. Here are some ideas from The Grand Wine Tour for a truly sparkling experience. Adventures to try and take home, making each glass be more than a mere sip of good wine – an authentic experience to be shared.
Berlucchi, a journey in Franciacorta
Aperitivo at the winery with Berlucchi’s Franciacorta (Borgonato di Corte Franca, Brescia)
The name “Franciacorta” on bottles is almost sixty years old, but wine here has been made since the Roman period. It has been like this until a winemaker who would become famous, Franco Ziliani, had suggested Berlucchi to revolutionize consolidated traditions. Together, they have created a Metodo Classico in Franciacorta, a “sparkling” wine in a territory accustomed to still ones.
After doing some experiments, in 1961 the first 3,000 bottles were labelled: a real success. By the end of the decad, Berlucchi's Franciacorta has become the wine to display in all the important occasions.
The Seventeenth-century underground cellar, dug ten metres below ground level, is where all these stories are told. The walls marked by time, the large pupitres where the bottles rest, the private niche with the last sample of the 1961 vintage: here, the journey into the history of Italian winemaking can be experienced.
Discover the Metodo Classico Franciacorta with a tour and a guided tasting with professional sommeliers. The Winery awaits your arrival with its routes, secret corners and different tasting ideas.
Col Vetoraz, where Prosecco becomes Cartizze
The Col Vetoraz estate on the hills of Prosecco (Valdobbiadene, Treviso)
Despite its popularity – second only to Champagne among sparkling wines – Prosecco has a hundred-year history, which is only known to few. Said history has recently made these hills a UNESCO world heritage for the “heroic viticulture” that distinguishes them.
An example of such excellence is Col Vetoraz , located in Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene, 80 kilometres west of Venice. The winery produces bottles that are so far from the Prosecco we all know that it removed the word “Prosecco” from its labels, focusing on the appellations of “Cartizze DOCG” and “Valdobbiadene DOCG”, considered as the premier quality of this wine.
Cartizze is produced on a small hill, with a surface of only 1 square kilometre, at the heart of Valdobbiadene, the most famous historical town in Prosecco for the quality of its grapes and landscapes. A bottle that needs to be uncorked here, by the window overlooking the highest peak of Cartizze, at a height of almost 400 metres and with a view of the Alps.
Feudi di San Gregorio, signature sparkling wines at the new restaurant Marennà
Bottling of Dubl at Feudi di San Gregorio (Sorbo Serpico, Avellino)
One hour from Naples and not that far from Mt. Vesuvius, Feudi di San Gregorio is the winery that symbolizes the wine renaissance of Southern Italy, after a violent earthquake struck the area in 1980. This project has seen the participation of top architects and international designers.
The tour is a "taste" momument in all of its forms: a true joy for the eyes, but also for the palate. Inside the estate, the restaurant Marennà can be found: it has been recently renovated, a true landmark of the best dishes from Irpinia. A place where vertical routes paired with exclusive menus can be experienced.
Feudi di San Gregorio has revolutionized the millennial standards of wine from Campania, applying the Metodo Classico to the traditional local grapes, with the help of a big name from the world of Champagne: Anselme Selosse.
The latest creation is the sparkling wine Dubl Esse, also produced as a limited edition rosé: it encases the best of the local grapes inside its exclusive packaging. There are a lot of activities for those who want to visit the cellar – but the guided tasting of the Metodo Classico of Campania and the typical local products must not be missed.
Cascina Chicco, the sparkling Nebbiolo
The marvellous underground cellars of Cascina Chicco (Canale, Cuneo)
Cascina Chicco has been producing wines in Roero for three generations and it is an icon in Piedmont. Its cellars are a postcard picture of the beauty of this territory. A unique and poignant location: an appropriate tribute to Roero and its wines.
The underground setting is also spectacular: a cellar of over five thousand square metres dug underneath the hill, with a depth of up to 28 metres. A maze of barrel rooms, refinement areas, storage corridors, “crutin” and “infernot” dug into the bare rock, tasting rooms and niches where historical reserves and vintages are kept.
Cascina Chicco is one of the first to process Nebbiolo (the grape used in making Barolo) into a Metodo Classico sparkling wine. Cuvée Zero, the Metodo Classico Extra Brut made with Nebbiolo is the flagship wine of Cascina Chicco in terms of purity, and it is internationally well-acclaimed.
A tour of the underground cellar and the customized tasting give the opportunity to fully grasp – without any mediation – the uniqueness of the products from the terroir of Roero and the Langhe. Here, you can breathe the history of the four generations that have succeeded its founder “Chicu” Faccenda, whose moniker has become an international wine brand.
Coppo, the cathedral of Italian sparkling wine
The phase of resting on the lees, inside Coppo winery (Canelli, Asti)
Nestled in the north of Langhe, Canelli is a town located by the Belbo River, in the hills of Alto Monferrato. Canelli is home to the Italian sparkling wine: the Metodo Classico was introduced in Italy here, and Cantina Coppo has been a pioneer of this field since 1892.
Riserva Coppo Alta Langa DOC is born from the passion of its founder for champagne: this bottle symbolizes this tale. A history that can fully be relived while visiting the cellars, acknowledged as UNESCO World Heritage Site: a temple dedicated to wine.
The Underground Cathedrals (this is how the huge cellars are called) run underneath the hills of Canelli. They extend for over five thousand square metres and reach a depth of forty metres. Going through them brings you to cross the entire hill, up to the tunnel where the sparkling wines are put to rest.
Bortolomiol, the inventors of Prosecco Brut
Guided tastings with sommeliers at Bortolomiol (Valdobbiadene, Treviso)
Giuliano Bartolomiol has been a trailblazer. He was the one who have turned Prosecco – a wine which used to be drunk exclusively in the surrounding areas of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano – into an international product synonymous to “sparkling wine made in Italy”.
In the 60s, he was the first to make a “brut” version of Prosecco: a variant without any sugar residue, anticipating current international trends. This has made his winery a point of reference in the international Prosecco Superiore DOCG scene.
The estate is located in an area with perfect exposure (the Alps to the north and the Adriatic Sea to the south-east), but that is also challenging: all the work in the vineyard must be done by hand. At its head are four sisters who have inherited their father's legacy.
You can experience the beauty of the vineyards, the history of the region and the perlage of Bortolomiol sparkling wines through a customized tour of the winery and a tasting in the place where the wines are produced.
Plan your trip to try the sparkling wines of the best Italian wineries with The Grand Wine Tour