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2019 #Lombardia | Ca' del Bosco winery, Franciacorta

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

If you ever drunk Franciacorta sparkling wine or ever been visiting the area then you most probably heard name of Ca' del Bosco, who is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) producer of Franciacorta in the world. I bet you saw their bottles on the shelves of your wine shop, at least. So being in the area, of course, visit to this winery is a must to see everything by your own eyes and to understand a difference with other estates. I saw in some sources that Ca' del Bosco is one of the most beautiful wineries in Italy, as I visited them really many, I can assure it sounds like a true, this #winery is an object to be seen.

There are three key persons in the history of Ca' del Bosco. The estate's story began in the 60s when here, in Erbusco, Annamaria Clementi Zanella bought a little house with 2 hectares of land on a hill, known as Ca' del bosc and surrounded by forest of chestnut trees. It's all started when she planted first #vineyards with a help of local farmer Antonio Gandossi and then everything continued in 70s when her son Maurizio Zanella, who runs the estate nowadays, saw great potential in Franciacorta land understanding that it should give the perfect fruits for #winemaking, especially for premium bubbles. Following his artistic passion he started to turn a small house in chestnut forest into a huge fascinating estate. At his youth Maurizio Zanella met in France André Dubois and involved him in Ca' del Bosco wine project. Dubois helped the first Franciacorta Pinot Millesimato going on the market and brought all estate's wines on a high quality level. In the 90s Ca’ del Bosco became part of the Marzotto family owned Gruppo Zignago, but kept it's own identity. The cellars were expanded, new bottling line was established and line up of #Franciacorta and still wines was continuously growing year by year.

Now the estate owns 245 hectares of land and produces 1 600 000 bottles per year.

First of all, it's located in a super beautiful place, on the hills around Erbusco town in Lago d'Iseo area of Lombardia region, the landscapes here are just stunning.

There is a lot of space and hills are very well ventilated. All vineyards here are being kept in perfect condition, the vines are trained and trellised properly, everything is clean and nice.

The winery itself looks like a spaceship. By the way there is a real landing pad for helicopter, probably in use when Maurizio Zanelli or his guests come to visit the #estate, very convenient though.

The views from the hills are really amazing.

Original Ca' del Bosc, the house in the chestnut forest, where Annamaria lived in the 60s is carefully kept and treated respectfully.

A very nice Japanese meditation garden is located on the territory, so pity that I didn't have time to discover it as right after the visit I was leaving fast because I was late to another winery appointment. Actually, if you have plenty of time, I suggest after a visit to walk through this garden and enjoy amazing nature around.

Ca' del Bosco is full of real art objects, which is Maurizio's passion. Those pieces of art are placed everywhere around, outside and inside the #winery.

The sculpture on the hill is called Eroi di Luce and it's a concept of head amputated by dream, author is German artist Igor Mitoraj.

The sculpture located right in front of entrance to tasting room is called Egg Concept, created by Brazilian artist Spirito Costa, and fits into the Arte Povera tradition for its use of lowcost, recycled materials.

Starting inside the winery, first of all you'll see a big 3D map of Franciacorta area, where all the local villages, vineyards and plots are carefully described. It's made with a special small lights, which can be turned on by pushing the buttons to highlight places where different #grapes for different wines are grown.

Area for grapes reception and pressing is a monster. It's placed outside but covered with the roof.

It is a giant stainless steel organism with all those presses, pipelines, washing machines, tanks, conveyors etc.

Everything is automatic, people only need to control the process.

Going inside, to see the cellars, new stunning art objects are discovered.

Sculpture located right in front of entrance to fermenting rooms is called Il Peso del Tempo Sospeso, it is created by Stefano Bombardieri, local artist from Brescia. a real size rhino hanging from the ceiling, it symbolizes vitality and energy yet it is suspended to make people think about the meaning of the still life in #art.

Stainless steel installation inside the fermentation area, just around fermenting tanks, called Water in Dripping is created by Chinese artist Zheng Lu, made as exploring the locomotion of water's nature, it is lit with low dimmed lighting that glows and dramatizes the overall construction.

Fermenting is going in different types of stainless steel #tanks, vertical and horizontal, but all of them are huge in size anyways.

Barricaia, the heart of the estate. Actually it is a long and complicated labyrinth of tunnels deep underground with a lot of different rooms in it.

The cellar is super beautiful, however sometimes a bit scary, if you don't know the way out from that labyrinth and there are a lot of doors around... especially if you stay in some room for a long and the light is switching off automatically after some time (tested by myself, don't try to repeat it).

Of course there is another art object placed in the #cellar. Bronze sculpture Testimone by Italian artist Mimmo Paladino, it stays awake always and protects the treasure contained in the barrels. People in the winery called him "the guardian of the cellars".

Remuage process highlighted for better visibility.

Awesome cellars though.

I liked those barrels on the ceiling (decoration only, empty inside of course).

A wall, where the soil is uncovered, is an homage to terroir of Franciacorta area.

Bottling line of Ca' del Bosco is a Ferrari in the wine world.

This part is so called "dancing machine" as the #bottles are dancing up & down for a couple of times to check a pressure inside and to assure the cork is fixed well.

The job of this lady is the last check of every bottle, which is passing literally in one second at the lighting background right in front of her eyes, so she has to find if there is any teeny tiny sediment left in the bottle after disgorgement. She has to sort out the bottles where she will find any #sediment. This is super hard for eyes, so she works continuously only 15 minutes and then she goes out and take a rest, meanwhile to do not stop the line her colleague taking another 15 minutes turn. This proves the estate controls quality of their products till packaging.

The roots of the estate, people who made whole project live, worth respect for sure.

And finally, tasting room.

Classic, stylish, no doubts.

Yes, this is also an art object. Ceramic sculpture called Zolla Natura made by Bertozzi&Casoni from Imola, is representing a piece of soil with flowers, fragments of human activity, grass, rocks etc. like a microcosm with a bottle in the center, which save all these sensations in itself.

As the visit took long and I was really in hurry needed to run, I was not able to stay to talk longer about wines, but I've had a couple minutes to taste this Franciacorta Brut Vintage 2014.

Please, accept my apologies, but I can't even describe normally this wine as it was like drinking fresh squeezed lemon juice. Literally. Even though on the nose some aromas were somehow presented (lemon, lime, lemon again) but on the palate... in squeezed lemon juice you can't find anything except just lemon juice. This wine was an epic fail, it's just ruined my whole impression of the estate, sorry to say this.

I've politely asked the hosting person, won't mention here the name, "What happened with this wine, maybe this particular vintage 2014 was that much bad or what else it could be?" And seems the person didn't expect that somebody just won't like "a Franciacorta from one of the most famous producer in the world", so I've got a reply kind of "Oh yes, the vintage was super bad, a lot of rains, hard to mature the grapes, hard to make a good wine"... you know, in Russia it's been said "Bad dancer complains that his shoes are bad". I believe any winemaker can create a good wine in a great year, however only talented winemaker can create a great wine in a challenging vintage.

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