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Alitalia promotes Franciacorta denomination

Franciacorta has teamed up with Italy’s biggest airline, Alitalia, to co-market the sparking wine from Northern Italy. A bespoke bottle label has been custom-designed for the co-marketing of the wine, which will accompany Alitalia’s in-air dishes for its business-class and ‘magnifica customers’.

Consorzio Franciacorta president, Maurizio Zanella says: “We are confident that the presence of our wine on board Alitalia’s most exclusive class will contribute to gaining a truly global outreach for Franciacorta, and access to those, who appreciate fine taste, giving them the desire to visit our magnificent growing area and have the opportunity to truly experience Franciacorta”

Giuseppe Ferrarini, VP of sales, advertising and services sponsorship for Alitalia adds: “On the one hand, Alitalia is able to offer its customers one of Italy’s greatest products; on the other, Franciacorta, besides gaining direct contact with ‘Magnifica class’ passengers, will be able to communicate its method of production and the qualities of its wine. We are proud to offer Franciacorta. Our ‘Magnifica customers’ enjoy the height of comfort and the absolute finest Italian products, with dishes selected from Italy’s regional cuisines, always accompanied by wines selected by the Italian Association of Sommeliers (AIS).”    

The airline’s food has won the Best Airline Cuisine award from the American monthly Global Traveller for the last three years, and in 2013 it won another prestigious award, Best In-Flight Wine Program, part of the 2013 Saveur Culinary Travel Awards, for its research into Italy’s indigenous grape varieties and subsequent promotion of these wines, as well as for the best portfolio of quality wines partnered with in-flight meals.

Franciacorta was the first Italian wine produced exclusively by the method of a secondary fermentation in the bottle to win the DOCG in 1995; and in the same year the recognition of the Franciacorta production method, with consequent abandonment of the term “vino spumante (sparkling wine)”. 

Today, the wine label simply reads Franciacorta, a single term that identifies: the growing area around Lake Iseo, in the foot of the Alps in Lombardy, Northern Italy; the use of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Blanco; hand-picking; second fermentation in the bottle; slow maturation and ageing on the lees. There five different styles – Non Vintage, Vintage, Rosé, Satèn, Riserva.

In all of Europe, only 10 denominations enjoy this privilege, and of these, only three pertain to second fermentation in the bottle: Cava, Champagne, and Franciacorta.

Wines have been produced in Franciacorta since the 16th Century, but its modern history begins in 1961, with 11 wine producers, 29 hectares of vineyards and 2,000 hectolitres of sparkling wine ‘Pinot di Franciacorta’. In 2012, 13.85 million bottles of Franciacorta were produced from 106 different producers.

3 February 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor