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2019 #Lombardia | Bersi Serlini winery, Franciacorta

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Franciacorta wine area of Lombardia region is definitely an amazing place to be, where a lot of great estates producing premium shiny bubbles, I really suggest to visit them as much as you can because they all are different, with lots of stories behind, #terroir specifics, great people working there and good wines they craft, which you could probably taste only here. This particular story is about visiting Bersi Serlini estate.

Bersi Serlini roots are from the Middle Ages, when Cluny Monks built the original #wine cellar with big stone walls in Abbazia di San Pietro in Lamosa. After 700 years, in 1886 Bersi Serlini family acquired the property and it became private. Later in the 20th century it has been expanded by Piero Bersi Serlini and then restored with the support of his son Arturo, who produced the first bottle of Franciacorta Brut in 1970. Nowadays the estate is run by Arturo Bersi Serlini with help of his daughters Chiara and Maddalena.

The family keeps their traditions carefully, expanding the #winery is going wisely by keeping old historical buildings and adding some new things, mixing the uniqueness of the landscape of vineyards around with modern architecture. I actually like this style of merging antique and modern things.

The estate is located in incredibly beautiful place, just nearby Lago d'Iseo, between the villages Provaggio d'Iseo and Timolino. The mountains on the background on the pics are exactly those located on the lake sides.

As explained, Bersi Serlini family uses breeze coming from the lake to ventilate the #vineyards and cool the vines especially in hot summer. The direction, in which rows of vines are planted, is made like this not by accident. They especially plant the rows perpendicularly to the lake to use the space between rows for better vines' aeration, when the wind blows from lake's side #smartidea

I was super lucky to have a visit in the late afternoon in such good weather conditions. A day before it was so heavy rainy, that ruined all my plans for Lago d'Iseo promenade, so this particular sunny day I've got a chance to enjoy these stunning views of #Franciacorta area with lovely vineyards around in the golden hour.

Bersi Serlini owns 16 hectares of vineyards, planted mostly with #Chardonnay, just 1 hectare is planted with #PinotNoir. The estate produces only Franciacorta wine, annual volume is about 240 000 bottles.

Maddalena Bersi Serlini explained us all the details of their Franciacorta production. We've started from the grapes' reception and two pneumatic presses located outside, from where #grapes must by gravity is falling to the fermentation room, which is located 12 meters underground.

The #fermentation cellar has been designed as an integrated part of the land, with living walls made in clay, so you can clearly see it uncovered. This natural room maintains intact the essential connection between vines and winemaking process.

Fermentation is going in stainless steel tanks, using only natural #yeasts.

The ageing cellar is located deeper then fermentation room, bottles remain there for min 18 months for Brut wines and min 10 years for the best millesimato wines.

Remuage is made only manually. Usually 2 persons do it for 20 000 bottles during about 10 days. Hard job though (remember that it's also quite cold underground).

Ageing Franciacorta on lees is going in several deep caveau in the cellar, each caveau contains around 100 000 bottles of different wines ageing in the same time, but to be taken out for #remuage in the different period (depending on the vintage, wine type, selling time etc.) So it's a part of good management of the cellar to place those wines in the caveau in the right order - those for ageing longer are going deeper to the back wall and those for ageing shorter time are going closer to the exit. It's kind of tetris game just with bottles.

Pressure measurement tools, the principle of this exercise I've already explained in another article about Bonfadini estate.

A-shaped pupitres for remuage, the process explanation with highlighting real lees.

Franciacorta magnums' ageing on lees. Magnum is usually the biggest format, where lees removal can be done by manual remuage. In case if bigger bottles are needed to be sold to customers (volume more than 1,5l) the remuage is going in normal 0,75l bottles and then the wine is being transferred into the bigger #bottles later used for sales.

This part of the cellar is made mainly for having fun. As the estate holds a lot of events like weddings or corporate meetings, so they use this part for guests to make nice pictures for remembering their precious moments.

Showroom and #tasting room of the estate.

My tasting flight contained of three Franciacorta wines: Saten, Rose and Extra Brut Millesimato 2014. Saying frankly, the style of Bersi Serlini Franciacorta is not my personal preference. All the wines are quite rustic, with very rigid structure, they have lack of elegance, smoothness and balance, plus too much citrus bitterness dominates showing up right on the front combining with too much acidity. In the same time there is a strong personal character in each wine, so I believe it can fit certain palates.

Franciacorta DOCG Saten

Grapes: Chardonnay 100%

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation partially in stainless steel tanks and in barriques

Ageing: in stainless steel tanks and partially in barriques; ageing on lees min 30 months

Nose: lemon, green pineapple, peach, bread

Palate: rigid texture, lemon peel

Saten is the softest wine among all tasted, but it's much harder than Saten wines from other estates. On the nose there are some flowery notes presented, green fruits and stone fruits are also there, but strong citrus aromas and flavours are dominating. The texture is relatively complex and 5 bar pressure makes this wine a bit softer on the palate, but still a masculine relief is quite obvious in its style.

Franciacorta DOCG Rose

Grapes: Chardonnay 70%, Pinot Noir 30%

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation partially in stainless steel tanks and in barriques

Ageing: in stainless steel tanks and partially in barriques; ageing on lees min 46 months

Nose: red currant, strawberry, dried herbs, rye bread

Palate: strong structure, earthy, saline

Pinot Noir adds even more structure to already quite firm and austere style of the wine. Red berries on the nose are obvious though, minerality and earthiness are pronounced, bubbles are persistent. The wine is very dynamic and vivid, no compromise. It can easily stand pairing with very salty food like charcuterie or hard aged cheeses.

Franciacorta DOCG Extra Brut Millesimato 2014

Grapes: Chardonnay 70%, Pinot Blanc 30%

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation partially in stainless steel tanks and in barriques

Ageing: in stainless steel tanks and partially in barriques; ageing on lees min 48 months

Nose: white flowers, green vegetables, roasted nuts, bread crust

Palate: austere, saline, firm texture

Intense and robust wine, still made in austere style, which is even more obvious here because of less dosage. Crispy with flavours of green melon, unripe pear, lime peel and toasted hazelnuts. The level of acidity is high enough to keep this wine still fresh even after so long ageing time on lees. Better to be accompanied with food, will be quite hard to drink standalone.

Many thanks to super nice Maddalena Bersi Serlini for very welcome receipt and Franciacorta-making techniques explanation.

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