More than 30 wine professionals attended yesterday’s Franciacorta “Real Story” tasting hosted by the Houston Sommelier Association at Camerata at Paulie’s, one of the city’s top wine bars and a favorite among trade members.
We poured two wines each from five Franciacorta wineries that are currently available in Texas and two wines each from six wineries not currently available in Texas but available in other parts of the country. (To view the wines that were poured, see the tasting book here; note that, although it’s not in the book, the 2008 rosé from Monzio Compagnoni was also poured; Berlucchi and Montenisa are theoretically available in the state but the wines were unavailable for the tasting.)
Each of them is poised to join the Court of Master Sommeliers. Keck, co-owner of Camerata, and Roberts are the founders of the group, which hosts seminars, tastings, and study groups on a weekly and bi-weekly basis.
“This is probably the largest tasting of Franciacorta wines ever in the U.S.,” said Keck, who introduced me before my seminar. “Take notes because it’s rare that we get to taste so many wines from Franciacorta.”
It’s always a great opportunity to talk to a group of top wine professionals like the members of the Houston Sommelier Association. They already know how sparkling wine is made and they have a lot of experience in tasting.
Aside from the history of the appellation, its origins, how it got its name, and the major players who have built the Franciacorta “brand,” I spoke at length on Franciacorta’s unique geography, topography, and geology. And I also spent a lot of time discussing residual sugar and dosage and the roles that they play in making Franciacorta such a distinct wine in the sparkling panorama.
Many of the attendees — most of whom had never tasted much Franciacorta — noted the rich, vibrant fruit character of the wines. There was a lively discussion on dosage and how Franciacorta stands apart in the broad spectrum of sparkling wine production.
Happily, none of the bottles were corked: I’m currently working with an Austin venue on a date for a mini-version of the tasting using the reserve bottles that weren’t opened yesterday.
Stay tuned! And a HUGE THANKS to the Houston Sommelier Association for hosting this extraordinary tasting.
Photos by Ryan Cooper.