In a country where wines tend to trace their origins back centuries, sparkling Franciacorta is an anomaly. Born in the Lombardy region just 53 years ago, it was the first sparkler in Italy to be made from the same grape varietals and by the same method as Champagne, and in its relatively short history, it has become Italy’s finest sparkler.
This part of Lombardy produced wine since the 13th century, but it wasn’t until 1955 — when Count Guido Berlucchi met Franco Ziliani, a new winemaker with a dream — that Franciacorta emerged as Italy’s center for fine sparkling wine. The two founded the company Guido Berlucchi, and Ziliani produced 3,000 bottles of the region’s first sparkler in 1961.
From the beginning, Ziliani produced his sparkling wines by the strict Champagne method using the two major grapes of Champagne — Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. While Franciacorta’s other sparkling wine producers (there are now 100) also use Pinot Blanc, Berlucchi adds little and occasionally none of it. “It is too floral; it gives the wine too much of everything,” says Arturo Ziliani, Franco’s son and the winery’s current winemaker. Comparing Franciacorta with Champagne, Arturo adds, “We have a somewhat warmer climate and so our wines usually have slightly less acidity. They’re also slightly lighter-bodied.”
Production has grown to 4.5 million bottles annually. Most are sold in Italy, with about 100,000 imported to the United States. They include Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Brut ($21), a blend of 90 percent Chardonnay and 10 percent Pinot Noir that makes a classic sparkler with excellent balance, silkiness and a profusion of tiny bubbles.
Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Rosé ($24) mixes 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent Chardonnay for a lively wine, inviting with a round body.
A rich, zesty wine with finesse, Berlucchi Brut ($33) combines 90 percent Chardonnay and 10 percent Pinot Noir.
Berlucchi Rosé 2008 ($42) takes its character from 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent Chardonnay to create a pink-shaded wine, lively and sumptuous.
Other Berlucchi wines not yet imported into the United States include Extreme 2006 Reserve, 100 percent Pinot Noir produced only in the best harvests; and Cellarius Pas Dosé, made without a dosage and thus bone dry. Pleasures to come.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.