Life is too short to drink Prosecco*
Italy's answer to Champagne comes in many forms, but it is perhaps Franciacorta that should be called upon first to respond. Franciacorta is a small wine region extending from the southern shores of the Lago d'Iseo, in Lombardia. As in Champagne, Chardonnay and Pinots are grown in Franciacorta, and traditional method sparkling wine is their highest purpose. There are strict aging requirements for the production of Franciacorta, and any bottle bearing the DOCG must see at least 18 months aging in the bottle, while vintage-dated (millesimato) Franciacorta must see 37 months. A Saten style Franciacorta is a blanc de blancs made from Chardonnay, or a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco, and it is finished at lower pressure (4.5 atmospheres or less, as opposed to the typical 6 atmospheres).
Monzio Compagnoni's fabulous Saten is always on our shelves, and honestly, it's a bit unfair to the Champagne that sits next to it. It is no exaggeration to say that it competes in quality and style with excellent Champagne, and it does so at about half the price of some of the best values in Champagne (one should consider great Champagne at $50 to be a value in 2022). The 2018 has recently arrived, and we are as happy as ever to champion its talents. If you like Champagne but sometimes want something a bit less aggressively bubbly and acidic, you need to give this one a try.
Monzio Compagnoni Franciacorta Brut Saten Millesimato 2018 - $24
We've also got a super limited, organically grown, zero-dosage, and zero-sulfur Franciacorta from one of the region's new stars, Alessandra Divella. This wine is also a blanc de blancs, but not a Saten, because Alessandra doesn't take the Franciacorta DOCG designation. It is more mineral and acid-driven than Monzio Compagnoni's Saten, but it's also quite full and dense, with layers of fruit and brioche tones to offset its significant acid structure.
Alessandra Divella Metodo Classico V.S.Q. Blanc de Blancs 2018 - $50
*most Prosecco, that is, but do look out for col fondo Prosecco