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  Wine Producers Issue 42, June 2006   
Guido BerlucchiGuido Berlucchi Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
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Guido Berlucchi

The history of Italian spumante passes for Borgonato di Cortefranca, the place where also began the amazing story of Franciacorta and its quality bubbles

 The history and the making of great things frequently begins with a dream. And it is right with a dream which begins the history of Franciacorta - today one of the most famous areas for Italian sparkling wines and renowned worldwide - and the wish of challenging a historical myth with what one's own land was capable of offering. The history of Guido Berlucchi, today one of the most successful producers of Italian bubbles, begins around the half of 1950's, when in his cellars they began to create the foundations for the realization of one young winemaker's dream, Franco Ziliani, who wished to challenge the par excellence bubbles - the ones from Champagne - a myth which amazed and made every wine lover dream since centuries. The challenge is however hard and ambitious, because at those times there were no equipments, materials and the fundamental experience in order to make comparisons with a wine and an area having centuries of tradition in the making of wines refermented in bottle - a system today known as Méthode Champenoise - that in Champagne was profitably used since the end of 1600's.


The entrance of Guido Berlucchi winery
The entrance of Guido Berlucchi winery

 Guido Berlucchi was a countryside gentleman who in the 1950's produced in his cellars - at Borgonato in the province of Brescia - a table wine called “Pinot del Castello”, because the vineyards were cultivated in the slopes of a small hill on the top of which was found the castle of Borgonato. That wine, produced with passion, had however a stability problem, because as soon as it was bottled it used to get hazy. Guido Berlucchi then tried to find the help of a wine maker who could fix the problem, and it was in 1954 he met Franco Ziliani, an enterprising young man full of enthusiasm who had just graduated at “Istituto di Enologia di Alba” (Alba Wine Making Institute). Franco Ziliani fixed Pinot del Castello's stability problem and began expressing to Guido Berlucchi his ambitious dream: the production in Franciacorta of a high quality sparkling wine which could compete with Champagne. At the end of the 1950's, also thanks to the help of Giorgio Lanciani - friend and colleague of Guido berlucchi - they began creating the foundations for sparkling wine production in Franciacorta.

 It will take many attempts before arriving in 1961 to the creation of the first 3,000 bottles of sparkling wine having the quality Franco Ziliani wanted for that wine. At those times, few people had the opportunity to taste the wine and the few judged that sparkling wine as excellent, impressed both by the quality and elegance of those bubbles. Franco Ziliani decides to call that wine “Pinot di Franciacorta”, a successful intuition since the very beginning: it was the very first time the name Franciacorta was mentioned in a bottle of wine. The success of that wine is striking and Guido Berlucchi began to receive many orders: from those 3,000 bottles, they soon produced 20,000, then 100,000, and finally hundreds of thousands; the myth of Franciacorta had just began. In his dream, now turned into reality, Franco Ziliani wanted to make a sparkling wine having qualities which could be appreciated by anyone and which could be easily found everywhere at a reasonable price.


A view of Castello vineyard
A view of Castello vineyard

 At the same time, he wished to make profits which could allow him to improve the investments in the cellar in order to continue improving the quality of his sparkling wines. He had no interest in creating an elitist wine destined to few people and sold at high prices. The philosophy of Franco Ziliani was to offer Italians a sparkling wine which could be appreciated for its quality and also having a good value, that is a wine which could keep the name of Italian sparkling wine in high esteem. Today Guido Berlucchi winery is among the most renowned Italian wineries in the world, leader in Italy for the production of classic method sparkling wine, the producer of the most appreciated and looked for bubbles by Italians. The productive philosophy of Guido Berlucchi winery is still today based on these principles. Despite everyone knows Guido Berlucchi winery has been the first cellar making classic method sparkling wines in Franciacorta, this is not however enough in order to ensure a long lasting success.

 For this reason, the philosophy of Guido Berlucchi has been further strengthened by the conviction it is also necessary to take advantage of the progress made in viticultural and wine making technologies as well as carefully considering the evolution of consumptions. The quality of wines is therefore constantly improved, also working on the renewal and the improvement of the whole wine range. The history of Guido Berlucchi winery is, in this sense, a brilliant example of adaptation and innovation according to times, also adopting the most advanced technologies and their adaptation with the experience gained in the course of more than 40 years in the production of sparkling wines. With these presuppositions, Guido Berlucchi winery has been successful in reaching the ambitious dominant position in the market with its most famous product: Cuvée Imperiale Berlucchi. In the last ten years, Guido Berlucchi winery has faced particularly significative changes which began the renewal and the new course of the winery, the introduction of new quality products, the modernization of technical equipments and the acquisition of new wineries.


 

 Guido Berlucchi winery's new generation is today represented by Franco Ziliani's sons - Cristina, Arturo and Paolo - who are getting more and more involved in the life and management of the winery. Guido Berlucchi winery has now a yearly production of about 5,000,000 bottles, and despite of this high number, the quality of the wines is not neglected. Among its famous sparkling wines are mentioned the historical Cuvée Imperiale Berlucchi - available in the styles Brut, Vintage, Max Rosé, Pas Dosé and Brut Extrême - as well as the renowned Cellarius Brut Vintage and Cellarius Rosé Vintage, the latter made for the first time in 2001. Recently, Guido Berlucchi winery decided to start two distinct productive philosophies in order to always give consumers the best quality. The first productive philosophy is about the classic Cuvée Imperiale range, produced with wines coming from the three most famous Italian areas for sparkling wines: Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese and Trentino Alto Adige; the second one is exclusively focused on Franciacorta DOCG, represented by Cuvée Storica, a wine capable of expressing the characteristics and qualities of Franciacorta area, the heart of the land where Guido Berlucchi winery was born.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Cuvée Imperiale Brut, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Cuvée Imperiale Brut
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (65%), Pinot Noir (30%), Pinot Blanc (5%)
Price: € 12.00 Score:
The wine shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of banana, pineapple and yeast followed by aromas of bread crust, acacia, hawthorn, pear, apple, hazelnut and grapefruit. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of banana, pineapple and apple. Cuvée Imperiale Brut is produced with the classic method and ages in bottle on its lees for at least 18 months.
Food Match: Crustaceans and fish appetizers, Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans



Cuvée Imperiale Pas Dosé, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Cuvée Imperiale Pas Dosé
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (65%), Pinot Noir (30%), Pinot Blanc (5%)
Price: € 13.00 Score:
This wine shows a pale straw yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of bread crust, yeast and grapefruit followed by aromas of pineapple, banana, hawthorn, mineral, hazelnut, apple and plum. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, grapefruit and pineapple. Cuvée Imperiale Pas Dosé is produced with the classic method and ages in bottle on its lees for at least 18 months.
Food Match: Aperitifs, Fish and crustaceans appetizers, Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans



Cuvée Imperiale Max Rosé, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Cuvée Imperiale Max Rosé
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (45%), Pinot Noir (50%), Pinot Blanc (5%)
Price: € 15.00 Score:
This wine shows a pale onion skin color and nuances of onion skin pink, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas that start with hints of raspberry, cherry and strawberry followed by aromas of yeast, bread crust, blueberry, hazelnut, pink grapefruit, apple and plum. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum. Cuvée Imperiale Max Rosé is produced with the classic method and ages in bottle on its lees for at least 18 months.
Food Match: Stuffed pasta, Roasted fish, Broiled crustaceans, Roasted white meat



Cellarius Brut 2002, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Cellarius Brut 2002
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (80%), Pinot Noir (15%), Pinot Blanc (5%)
Price: € 19.00 Score:
Cellarius Brut shows an intense greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant aromas which start with hints of citrus fruits, bread crust and grapefruit followed by aromas of banana, yeast, pineapple, acacia, butter, apple, hazelnut and pear. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of banana, hazelnut and grapefruit. A small part of the base wine is vinified in barrique. Cellarius Brut is produced with the classic method and ages in bottle on its lees for at least 30 months.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Stewed and broiled fish, Sauteed white meat



Cellarius Rosé 2002, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Cellarius Rosé 2002
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (45%), Pinot Noir (55%)
Price: € 21.00 Score:
Cellarius Rosé shows a pale brilliant pink color and nuances of pale pink, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of raspberry, cherry and yeast followed by aromas of arbutus berry, bread crust, banana, pineapple, strawberry, pear and tangerine. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of raspberry, cherry and pineapple. Cellarius Rosé is produced with the classic method and ages in bottle on its lees for at least 30 months.
Food Match: Cold cuts, Pasta and risotto with meat and vegetables, Broiled fish and crustaceans



Franciacorta Brut Cuvée Storica, Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Franciacorta Brut Cuvée Storica
Guido Berlucchi (Lombardy, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay (95%), Pinot Noir (5%)
Price: € 19.00 Score:
This Franciacorta shows a brilliant greenish yellow color and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, good effervescence, fine and persistent perlage. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of bread crust, yeast and banana followed by aromas of acacia, citrus fruits, pineapple, plum, mineral, hazelnut and pear. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, an effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, banana and plum. A small part of the Chardonnay and all the Pinot Noir used for the base wine is fermented in barrique. Franciacorta Cuvée Storica ages in bottle on its lees for at least 24 months.
Food Match: Pasta and risotto with fish and meat, Broiled fish, Sauteed white meat



Guido Berlucchi - Piazza Duranti, 4 - 25040, Borgonato, Brescia (Italy) - Tel. +39 30 984381 Fax. +39 30 984293 - Winemaker: Ferdinando dell'Aquila, Arturo Ziliani - Established: 1961 - Production: 5.000.000 bottles - E-Mail: info@berlucchi.it - WEB: www.berlucchi.it


 Wine Tasting  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 42, June 2006   
Guido BerlucchiGuido Berlucchi Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 41, May 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 43, Summer 2006

Cellar Journal


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 Wine Tasting  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 42, June 2006   
Guido BerlucchiGuido Berlucchi Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
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