Wine Advocate 88 points - Brimming with bright citrus aromas, the non-vintage Franciacorta Brut is an extremely sharp and focused expression with delineated undertones of honeydew melon and white flower that make for what is ultimately a simple, but complete bouquet. The wine shows medium intensity with a touch of yeasty creaminess on the close. Drink: 2014-2017.
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If you travel to Lombardy, Italy you will find there is one very fine winery, favorably located close to Lake Iseo, which has managed to combine excellence, avant-garde research and a warm-hearted, family feel not easily come by in the area: Roberto Gatti’s Ferghettina.
Roberto, his wife Andreina, and their enologist children, Laura and Matteo, form a young, enthusiastic, friendly and forward-thinking team whose growth is as sure, bright and lively as that of the winery’s adorable mascot, Laura’s little son, Pietro.
Roberto has always been a man of the land. In 1990, he began to give an elderly family friend a helping hand on the weekends: the woman owned a tiny winery and after her husband’s death, had a hard time dealing with the details of production. At the time, she sold in bulk but one year into the collaboration, she was so impressed she offered to sell him the winery and adjacent three hectares (7.4 acres) under vine, convinced production would shine in Roberto’s hands.
The year was 1991: Gatti left his former employer and struck out on his own - Ferghettina was born, named after the place name where the winery was located. For the first time, production was bottled under the Ferghettina label and Gatti’s first Franciacorta Brut was released in 1992.
Ferghettina grew, step by step. After a lifetime in the vineyards, Roberto knew the best fruit ripens gradually. People in Franciacorta hold him in great esteem, so that little by little, he took over new plots on long leases (20-25 years), which he replanted to the strictest standards, eventually running a total of 180 hectares (445 acres) under vine, split into nine Franciacorta districts.
Only a small portion of these is proprietary, for the family chose to focus their investments in top-quality equipment and vineyard management. One of these investments included a state-of-the-art, 64,600-square-foot new winery at Adro (again, slightly northwest of Erbusco), designed by Laura’s architect husband. Though built from 2002 to 2005, it is perfectly integrated into the landscape: a traditional farmhouse made of timeless-looking bricks and stones, it embraces a gently sloping hill within sight of Lake Iseo (a.k.a. Lake Sebino).
The Gatti family is supported by a staff of fifteen and yearly production is around 350,000 bottles. The wines are styled by Roberto himself flanked by Laura and Matteo, both university graduates in enology.
In fact, starting with the 2007 vintage, the Ferghettina Rose and vintage Brut (now known as Milledi), come in a special bottle invented by Matteo Gatti, with a square rather than round base, rising pyramid-like with flat interior sides so that during Rose’s and Milledi’s three years on the lees, the yeasts of second fermentation have two and a half times greater contact with the wine by comparison with traditional, round-based bottles. This leads to even greater finesse, flavors and aromas.
In other words, originality, beauty and functionality.