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.
Tucked away between the verdant hills of the Dominican Republic and beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, Samaná is the perfect year-round destination. No matter what time of year you choose to visit this hidden gem, you can check things off your travel bucket list. In the summer, escape the busy tourism hot spots and explore off-the-beaten path areas and activities; in the winter, embark on an eco-excursion like whale watching in Samaná Bay.
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The coastal town of Belek in Antalya serves as the setting for the brand new, 5-star Cullinan Belek, named for the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Set along the sparkling azure waters of the Turkish Riviera, the new property boasts its own private white-sand beach, with 600 plush guestrooms (including 10 luxurious villas), all providing sea views. The hotel also has 13 swimming pools, 10 dining venues and five bars.
Museums beckon wherever we go. They amuse and enlighten travelers and bring to public attention historical, artistic, scientific and natural wonders. Most are thought-provoking and educational, stretching our minds and our knowledge of the world. Some, however, stand out as just plain quirky: personal and sometimes whimsical collections, museums dedicated to a unique skill or long- forgotten industry, arcane collections originally designed for scientific study. Others devote their space to sharing a subject that represents one person’s consuming passion.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …
The Seoul Tourism Organization participated in IMEX, the world’s largest MICE exhibition, in Frankfurt, Germany, May 29–June 2. IMEX celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated an exciting moment recently when Evrima, its inaugural yacht, completed a series of successful sea trials. On June 9, in Santander, Spain, Evrima reached what is considered one of the final shipbuilding milestones prior to launch with the sea trials, a series of tests carried out when the yacht is sailing on open waters. Captain Steven MacBeath led the trials, alongside a team of senior officers, engineers, contractors and shipyard staff.
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