Bellavista is one of Italy’s finest sparkling wines. A Franciacorta DOCG, it was first produced in 1984 by veteran winemaker Vittorio Moretti. Over the years, Bellavista’s high quality sparkling wines have contributed to the fame of the Franciacorta DOCG, making it a close rival to Champagne.
We initially tasted Bellavista’s sparkling wines for our Report #14 The World of Sparkling Wines and Champagnes and concluded they are among the world’s finest sparkling wines. Tasting them again recently in connection with our upcoming special report Rosé Champagne and Sparkling Wine, we were again very impressed with their unique refinement, elegance and overall quality. Our tasting notes and ratings are included below.
The Franciacorta DOCG is located in the rolling hills south of Lake Iseo in the province of Brescia. Making sparkling wine is relatively recent, starting in the 1960s and gaining DOCG status in 1995. The production of a less effervescent, especially creamy sparkling wine (under 5 bars atmospheric pressure) called Satèn is unique to Franciacorta, and Bellavista makes one of the best. Non-vintage Franciacorta must spend 18 months on the lees in bottle, while vintage Franciacorta wines must spend a minimum of 30 months on the lees.
Mattia Vezzola is Bellavista’s chef de cave. Mattia uses the Metodo Classico to make the sparkling wines from mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As in Champagne, the non-vintage wines include reserve wines to add complexity and maintain consistency over time. The 190 ha Bellavista wine estate is comprised of 107 different, organically farmed vineyard parcels, the fruit of which Vezzola ferments by parcel before later blending into the diverse Bellavista cuvées. Mattia Vezzola also makes still and sparkling wines with his brother Imer, at Costaripa on the shore of Lake Garda.
The new US importer of Bellavista is TMR-USA, San Antonio TX.
Bellavista NV Cuvée Franciacorta ($30) 91 This blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero is made in the Champagne manner with a blend of more than 30 different wines, including reserve wines, contributing to consistency of flavor and style. It reveals a rich, lemon and lees mousse and is bright and crisp on a beautifully balanced palate of integrated fruit and lees flavors.
Bellavista 2008 Gran Cuvée Satèn Brut Franciacorta ($50) 94 Leesy with bright floral and orange flower aromas, the Gran Cuvée Satèn reveals bright acidity, ripe flavors with a light autolytic note, and a persistent finish. It’s a delicate and elegant wine made of 100% Chardonnay from older vineyards located on the hillsides of Erbusco. Perfect for a creamy pasta dish like fettucini alfredo.
Bellavista 2006 Gran Cuvée Pas Operé Franciacorta ($60) 94+ A very refined wine that is elegant yet also rich and complex. It shows minerals and notes of lemon and lightly toasted hazelnuts on the nose and a concentrated, creamy palate with a long, pure and focused finish. A blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir aged 5 years on the lees. Very, very fine.
Bellavista 2007 Gran Cuvée Brut Franciacorta ($40) 93 The Gran Cuvée Brut reveals excellent depth of aroma and flavor showing notes of citrus and apple with a seamless, stony palate. It has superb balance and a creamy, ultra-refined texture. A blend of 72% Chardonnay and 28% Pinot Noir, 30% of which is fermented and matured in small barriques for 7 months.
Bellavista 2007 Gran Cuvée Rosé Brut Franciacorta ($50) 93 Light salmon pink. The Gran Cuvée Rosé reveals a refined nose of wild berries and rose petals. It’s dry, flavorful, and above all else elegant with firm underlying acidity and light red fruit and autolytic notes. A blended selection of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay from more than ten different parcels partially fermented in barrel.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler