2019 #Lombardia | Bonfadini winery, Franciacorta
Updated: Jan 7
This was a last minute booking right before my trip, I've booked almost everything and had no space in my schedule already, but something went wrong with another visit, I've got a free time slot and tried to have an appointment with Bonfadini, luckily they've accepted. I should tell from the very beginning, the Universe always knows the things better than we think we know them, this was one of the best estates and definitely the best #Franciacorta I've tested during this trip (and maybe among all others as well). Thanks to the Universe for managing my schedule this way, once I'm again in the area surely I'll come back to Bonfadini, and recommend it to everyone too.
The estate is very small but so much beautiful and atmospheric, that I've immediately fell in love with the place, it looks just magical.
Bonfadini estate is quite young, as winery producing own Franciacorta exists only about 10 years. However, earlier it was a big farm, launched by grandfather Giovanni Bonfadini in 1956, who started cultivating #vineyards and selling grapes to other wineries in the area. Later, in 1993, his son Graziano took over the farm management, continuing to cultivate the vineyards and selling the grapes to large wine producers in Franciacorta, but he already though about crafting his own #wine from his grapes. Later on, in 2007 his daughter Francesca and son Andrea decided to start own production of Franciacorta. Nowadays they both run the estate.
The special beauty and awesome atmosphere of the place makes a "house of the parents", who still live here on the territory where modern winery was built ten years ago. Francesca and Andrea both live in another places, but of course coming to work in the winery and always to visit their parents. This is truly family run business with great roots and traditions kept carefully.
The winery is small but very modern and stylish. It is located in a village Zuccone, which is just about 3 minutes driving from Lago d'Iseo from Clusane town. By the way these places are also beautiful and highly suggested to visit if you re travelling to Lombardia region.
The #winery has grown rapidly during these ten years, starting from 5 000 bottles production in the 2007, when first Franciacorta Nobilium Brut was introduced to the market, till now when it's increased to 120 000 bottles per year with line up of six labels already.
Certainly great success of the estate achieved because of Francesca's and Andrea's energy and passion driving their business always to move forward, but I believe a big part of success and one of the key roles playing is the oenologist. In 2013 Francesca invited the winemaker Gianni Gasperi to work for Bonfadini. Gianni is from Trentino and he has huge experience working with #sparkling wines. He works as a consultant oenologist all over Italy, but in Franciacorta area he works with Bonfadini exclusively. Thanks to Gianni, Bonfadini Franciacorta is made in super elegant flawless style, it's crafted with own distinctive identity and perfect taste. Just try it.
As said, the winery is very small, an area of fermentation is everything you can see on these couple of pics. Fermenting mostly in stainless steel tanks during about a week under the temperature 14-16C (less then 10% of the grapes is being fermented in #oak).
Same tanks are used for maturation during about 7 months.
Pinot Noir this year vintage 2019 is currently ageing in the tanks. As temperature outside was quite warm in this sunny day, you can see drops of condensation on stainless steel surface as inside the tank it's around 14-16C.
Bonfadini produces only Franciacorta DOCG, sourcing #grapes from own 10 hectares of vineyards, planting just Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, harvesting of course only manually.
During 10 years the line up of the estate consisted of 4 labels: Nobilium Brut, Opera Rose, Carpe Diem Saten and Veritas Nature. Saying in advance before you read my tasting notes, all of them are amazing wines, made in the perfect style, which I loved from the first sight.
Starting from this year 2019 two new #wines were introduced by Bonfadini estate to the market, both are millesimato, production is about 2500 bottles each. Unfortunately there were not available for tasting due to super limited production, but I do hope to have a chance to taste these wines some time, I'm sure they are as perfect as all other Franciacortas of Bonfadini or even better.
Aurora Rose, Chardonnay 60% and Pinot Noir 40%, vintage 2015, fermentation in stainless steel only, min ageing on lees in the bottle is 40 months, dosage is 5 gr/l. Introduced to the market in 2019.
Victus Nature, Chardonnay 90% and Pinot Noir 10%, vintage 2016, fermentation in stainless steel and in oak, min ageing on lees in the bottle is 30 months, no dosage. Introduced to the market in 2019.
Going to the cellar, which is also not big, but quite tidy and clean.
Ageing on lees with all details described on the plates properly according the law.
Tools for measuring pressure inside the bottle during ageing. If you know something about Champagne or other sparklings made by traditional method, the principle is same and simple. During ageing the pressure should be 1 bar more than you need to have in the final product because you will lose around 1 bar during #disgorgement. As usually Franciacorta wine has 6 bar, therefore if while ageing on lees you keep 7 bar then you're on the safe side. Usually for Saten producers do finally 5 bar (for creamy and velvety foam), in this case during ageing they have to keep 6 bar.
At Bonfadini remuage is always made manually.
Different colors of metallic caps are used to find the bottles needed and don't mix them up accidentally #smartidea
Green is for Saten...
...Pink is for Rose and Golden is for Brut. Nice, easy, looks good aesthetically.
Barricaia of the estate (the cellar for barrels). Again, very small, but so nice though.
French oak barriques are being used for two purposes: #ageing wine for liqueur de tirage (only in new oak) and ageing about 10% of wine for Franciacorta itself (only in old oak). Usually medium toasted barriques are used.
A part of Chardonnay vintage 2018 is now being aged for making Saten.
Different years of production (e.g. 2017 and 2016) and toasting level (M) are marked to differentiate the barriques.
This teeny tiny so called barrique, made of stainless steel, is used for making wine for liqueur de tirage for Rose (Pinot Noir) and Saten (Chardonnay).
I've already mentioned above, that the quality of Bonfadini Franciacorta is high and the wines are fabulous. If you're a methode traditionnelle lover, then I really suggest you to find and taste it in your place, I'm sure you'll love it as I do. At least never miss a chance to taste it anywhere else or better come to visit the estate itself, if you're around Milano it's just about 1,5 hours driving.
Franciacorta DOCG Nobilium Brut
Grapes: Chardonnay 90%, Pinot Noir 10%
Vinification: Pinot Noir alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel at average 14-16C and ageing in same tanks for about 7 month; Chardonnay alcoholic fermentation partially in stainless steel at average 14-16C and partially in French oak barriques
Ageing: in stainless steel tanks and partially barriques (Chardonnay) for about 7 month; second fermentation for a min 24 months on lees
Nose: vanilla, honey, peach, fresh bread
Palate: bright, medium body, fresh
This Brut is basic wine of the estate, made of perfect quality, the beginning of whole production of Franciacorta at Bonfadini, the history of the estate started ten years ago. Dosage is 5 gr, perfectly balanced by high acidity level (6,5 gr/l). Nice, easy and very straightforward wine, made to fit the #palate of majority of people. Classic Franciacorta with fresh stone and citrus fruits flavours, will be easily paired with food or just great as aperitif.
Franciacorta DOCG Carpe Diem Saten
Grapes: Chardonnay 100%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation partially in stainless steel at average 14-16C and partially in French oak barriques
Ageing: in stainless steel tanks and partially barriques for about 7 month; second fermentation for a min 24 months on lees
Nose: white flowers, nectarine, vanilla, brioche
Palate: velvety texture, fruity, long finish
Awesome Saten, subtle, soft, but having a nice velvety texture, fresh and super fruity with gentle hints of #vanilla and baked croissants. Ageing of small part of wine in French oak adds structure and complexity to this wine. Dosage 6 gr is a quite high portion, but as Saten by law never can be Pas Dose, so the lowest sugar version possible is Brut. Very delicate wine with fine and long lasting bubbles, definitely enjoyable.
Franciacorta DOCG Opera Rose
Grapes: Chardonnay 60%, Pinot Noir 40%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel at average 14-16C
Ageing: in stainless steel tanks for about 7 month; second fermentation for a min 24 months on lees
Nose: raspberry, red cherry, bread crust, seashell
Palate: vivid, intense, good structure
Elegant and stylish Rose. Truly captivating wine not only because of beautiful #rose color but of delicate aromas and bright flavours. Dosage 4 gr plays well with high acidity (6,5 gr/l), almost bone dry. Pronounced red berries flavours and intense minerality are definitely here because of Pinot Noir's strong presence. One of the best sparkling Roses ever.
Franciacorta DOCG Veritas Nature
Grapes: Chardonnay 90%, Pinot Noir 10%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel at average 16-18C
Ageing: in stainless steel tanks for about 7 month; second fermentation for a min 36 months on lees
Nose: bread crust, wet stone, peach, green pineapple
Palate: crispy, fresh, rich, complex
It's no secret that I'm a super fan of Pas Dose, so this Nature is my fave of course. No dosage together with high acidity (6,5 gr/l) is a perfect combination to feel all pure aromas and flavours of this wine. Fresh baked bread crust and butter aromas as a result of long ageing on lees, notes of white and green fruits make it lovely juicy and extremely elegant. Crispy #acidity is a key, lemon peel and lime aromas makes it especially fresh and enjoyable. My personal choice, if I would need to choose only one of the whole tasting line up.
Many thanks to nice Valentina, for managing my visit, interesting conversation about winemaking techniques, telling the story of the estate and tasting these perfect wines.