Wine Making Model
The ideal model of Franciacorta wine is under continuous development. Changes take years and define the cycles, but in agriculture, as we know, cycles can be very long, long enough to be measured in decades, are often impeded by a culture that jealous safeguards its traditions and therefore tends to be very conservative. Over time, Franciacorta, which quickly freed itself from these mechanisms, has benefitted from the best that technical knowledge has to offer, with the result that the viticultural landscape and agricultural techniques have changed much faster than elsewhere.
The current viticultural model, which is also described in the production regulations, requires medium-high density planting with values ranging from 4,500 to 6,000 plants per hectare with a maximum distance between rows of 2.5 m and a (recommended) minimum distance above the row of 0.8 m.
Forms of espalier training, with vegetation rising on one single level of the vegetation, are the only permissible forms for new plants and the most frequent pruning method is Guyot (renewed branches) and pruned-spur cordon (permanent cordon).
Chardonnay is certainly the dominant variety, accounting for about 80% of the Franciacorta vineyards, but due to the great heterogeneity of soils and microclimates we can use the plural, calling them “the Chardonnays of Franciacorta”. The result is that despite having a shared identity card and an instantly recognisable territory of origin, Franciacorta wines express themselves in a very wide and eclectic range of stylistic interpretations.
While Pinot Blanc now has a residual presence, and is still important in the enrichment of the cuvée, Pinot Noir is an increasingly fundamental complement to the ampelographic basis of the Franciacorta vineyard, occupying positions at higher altitudes, and in beds that are not flat and have poor fertility.
The viticultural landscape is also recognisable for its permanently vegetated vines. Increasingly, the underbrush is also cultivated in order to reduce the competition between grass species and the vines. The grassing of the inter-row areas, even alternating with periodic working, ensures greater soil protection, maintenance of fertility, an increase of organic matter and control over the vigour of the vineyard.
The “architecture” of the vineyard defined in this way, along with agronomic management techniques, offers the best guarantee of balanced vegetation growth in harmony with the qualitative and quantitative needs of the production profile. The final result is musts with a rich and complex olfactory profile and a unique maturity of the fruit, but also with acidic elements to ensure the balance, freshness and longevity of the Franciacorta.