Franciacorta has long stood as one of the most prestigious Italian wine regions, with so many great producers creating remarkable wines. As such, it takes something truly special to stand out from the crowd, which can make it all the harder to find the best examples of Franciacorta that the region has to offer.
Of course, there a plenty of wine producers making great wines in the region, so it’s not all too hard to find something good. But if you want a wine that is truly great you may need to dig a little bit deeper to strike upon the absolute cream of the crop.
To save you a little bit of time, we have decided to dedicate this week’s article to a producer that really does stand apart from most others in the region, both for the quality of its wines and the story that lies behind the company.
So, without any further ado let’s take a look at Antica Fratta.
Destiny stands at the heart of Antica Fratta. At least that’s the impression you get with a quick browse of their website, which reveals that the company has long considered itself the followers of a destiny that has been dictated by the villa the producer occupies. Dating back to the aristocratic era of the region, this villa both stands as a testament to the dedication of Antica Fratta, as the company has undertaken rather extensive remodelling work on the location since taking it over, while also serving as a reminder of the great wines that have come from the region and the work of those who wish to grow the reputation of Franciacorta even further.
Located in Monticelli Brusati, in the region’s Fratta area, the Antica Fratta villa dates back further than the 19th century and was already head in extremely high regard for the quality of its products then. It is likely that the villa itself dates back to an old farmhouse from the 16th century, however, it was not until a wealthy merchant names Luigi Rosetti purchased the building that it began to resemble what it is today.
Mr. Rosetti made the villa his personal mansion, but he also had an eye towards the wine industry. Having made his fortune selling wines, he built a complex wine cellar within the depths of the villa, making the location the headquarters of his wine trade in the process. This wine cellar, which he built into the rocky hills lying behind the villa, is still in use to this day and is a remarkable place to visit as it bears a resemblance to the Greek cross.
In its time, this cellar could hold over six thousand hectolitres of wine, which lead to it receiving the nickname of the “grand cellar.” It was truly the pride of Mr. Rosetti, however, following the merchant’s death it is sad to say that the villa, and by extension its cellar, began to enter a slow decline from which it appeared there was no escape.
That all changed in the 1970s, when another man who had dedicated his life to wine, Franco Ziliani, burst onto the scene. A patron of the famed Guido Berlucchi company, Mr. Ziliani fell in love with the winery following a visit and, despite the dilapidated nature of the building, took it upon himself to ensure the villa once again reached its full potential.
His work saw the complete reconstruction of the villa, allowing it to once again enjoy the unique prominence that it had during the era of Mr. Rosetti. Due to his work, the villa and its gardens are once again open to the public for their enjoyment and, perhaps as importantly, has become a centre for wine production once again.
In 1979, following the completion of the project, the Antica Fratta project was born. While the villa had reached its previous heights, this project was dedicated to ensuring that it once again developed the reputation it previously held for producing absolutely phenomenal wines.
The Antica Fratta has a clear aim: to establish the villa and project as being representative of the true essence of the Franciacorta region. It is no small task, as there are many winemakers who will happily claim to have done just that with their own work.
Antica Fratta are different though. The company operates on the ideals of exclusivity, elegance, and pleasure, allowing them to produce wines that truly stand as excellent representations of the region. The company’s approach extends far beyond the wines it produces and into everything from the packaging it uses through to its branding, a painstaking approach that is wholly original in the world of Italian wine.
Through vigilant monitoring of its products and careful selection of its partners, Antica Fratta has established itself as the producer of great Franciacortan wines, including the example we will examine today.
Perhaps the most famous of the company’s products, the Antica Fratta Franciacorta Brut is truly that rare combination of an affordable sparkling white wine that also offers untold levels of quality.
Upon pouring, you will notice the pale yellow colouring of a wine that has reached ideal maturity, only slightly tinged with greenish highlights that will dance into vision before disappearing back into the glass.
The bouquet is rich and elegant, startling the drinker with its intensity whilst signalling at the wondrous taste that the wine hides. Once introduced to the palate, the wine dances around the tongue, offering sharp flavours and a slight acidic twinge that will leave you wanting more.
The perfect wine to use as an aperitif, it should be consumed alongside small, non-rich appetizers or with shellfish, such as lobster or crab.
Best of all, the Antica Fratta Franciacorta Brut carries a remarkably affordable price tag for the level of quality that you will receive. For just over 15 euros, you can have your hands on a wine that the experts at Xtrawine have tasted and deemed to be worthy of a 90 rating.