The excellent wines of Azienda Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi are produced in the charming setting of Franciacorta; an area that has been producing wine for centuries. With the wonderful backdrop of the old family home, the talent, passion, care and attention to quality with which all our wines are created is passed down from generation to generation.
And the quality of production is guaranteed by the indissoluble ties with the land, the seventy hectares of vineyards with Controlled Origin Certification give excellent grapes that when skilfully processed offer great balance between perfumes and taste...
The lands came from our father Antonio Berlucchi who in turn inherited them from his father Francesco, son-in-law of Count Ignazio de Terzi Lana. 1967 Registration of the vineyards with the D.O.C. Franciacorta Controlled Origin Certification. 1981 Transformation of the Azienda Agricola from a de facto corporation to an Azienda Agricola S.p.A., a joint stock company between brothers. Sole Director Roberto, engineer. 1984 President, Francesco, engineer. 1996 President, Marcello, lawyer. Pia Donata, from the beginning, Managing Director and General Director.
The Farm Agricola Fratelli Berlucchi is owned by five brothers and sisters: Francesco, Gabriella, Marcello, Roberto and Pia who carry on the activities of their father Antonio, well-known civil design engineer, and their forefathers.
The business, located in Borgonato di Cortefranca, in the heart of the Franciacorta region, in the centre of its morainic hills, possesses around 50 hectares of D.O.C. vines, exclusively from which the raw materials for its wines are taken. The soil is calcareous and loose, geologically of morainic origin, as the white pebblestones which copiously surface the slopes of the hills planted with vines demonstrate. The climate of the area, with annual rainfall of around 900 mm, distributed throughout the Spring and Autumn, is temperate.
Work on the Estate takes place in ancient restored buildings under austere, thirteenth-century vaults with joyful sixteenth century frescos, continuing the family history and employing modern working techniques.
The Estate produces all the varieties of Franciacorta Docg and Terre di Franciacorta Doc red and white wines, with a particular attention to these Franciacorta wines: Brut, Brut Rosé, Satèn, Pas Dosé, always and only vintage dated. The name "Casa delle Colonne" on the other hand, reminding of our family villa, is reserved for the top of our range: to Franciacorta Docg millesimato (vintage dated) aged for at least 6 years on the yeast in 12,000 bottles and a special Red in just 6,500 bottles, slowly matured by passing from steel containers, through large wooden casks, then small "foudres" and finally into glass, to obtain a harmony of scents and gentle, complex flavours.
To these, we add Grappa di Franciacorta, from Chardonnay and Pinot bianco marc. Special selections of still wines refined using traditional lengthy conservation methods, give life to the special "Dossi delle Querce" (oak ridges) red and white reserves, named after the limestone hills (ridges) of the area; these wines are only placed on sale at the moment believed best for drinking. These heights are still covered with oak woods in which clearings open up - home to the vineyards, thus enjoying a special microclimate.
This is a small area of the Province of Brescia, to the south of Lake Iseo, found between the Oglio river to the east, flowing out of the lake, the Milan-Brescia motorway to the south and the Brescia-Iseo-Vallecamonica road on the west side. It is a land rich in beautiful sloping hills with an ancient and familiar panorama conserved over the centuries, where the splendid Renaissance villas and the medieval castles of patrician Brescian families alternate with small towns where history has left faint traces. The origin of the name "Franciacorta" is still not at all clear. One first historical explanation resorts to the passage of Charlemagne's Franks descending in the VIII century to defeat the kingdom of the Longobards and their king Desiderio (father of Ermengarda celebrated in verse by Manzoni and first abbess of the rich convent of Santa Giulia at Brescia). In this way, "Franciacorta" would be reminiscent of the arrival of the Franks. This explanation, not particularly well-supported for a lack of precise historical elements, recently became fashionable again with the discovery of exact traces of the passage of the Franks, including an element revealing the holy toponymy which in fact led to a change in the Saint of numerous rustic parish churches from S. Michele Arcangelo (protector of the Longobards) to S. Martino of Tours (protector of the Franks) at the time. Another explanation, more understandable to current thinking, places the name in connection with the exemption of imperial taxes and tributes which these ecclesiastically owned territories enjoyed: it was in fact "curtis francae", in other words land freed from tribute to the emperor (one Municipality still exists today called "Corte Franca", but of very recent origin).
A much more amusing explanation, was provided in the last century by Brescian historian Gabriele Rosa, a patriot of our Risorgimento. Rosa bases himself on the passage through the area of the troops of Carlo d'Angiò, called to Italy by Pope Clemente IV to receive the crown of Naples. Descending Valle Camonica and the course of the Oglio river, the French halted at Rovato and in Franciacorta, but disturbed the women a little too much - perhaps attracted in equal measure by their beauty and emboldened by the quality of the wines. So it went that on 11 November 1265 a Rovato cobbler, brandishing his keen-edged awl as a weapon, led an authentic revolt to the sound of clanging bells shouting "Out with the French, because otherwise France will become short here!".
Franciacorta has morainal soil on hills of debris left in the ancient geological times by the large glacier that scoured out Valle Camonica forming today's Lake Iseo. Its dry limestone soil geology and temperate climate also influenced by the lake, make this area especially suitable for cultivating grapes, a local practice since remote times by Etruscans, Cisalpine Gauls, and Romans. IX century notarised documents explicitly mention vine-growing in the lands owned by the large Brescian monasteries: female ("Santa Giulia", of regal Longobard foundation) and male ("San Faustino e Giovita", where the abbots held office by imperial nomination following the arrival of Charlemagne).
During the Renaissance vines enjoyed great renewed popularity as witnessed respectively in the fifteenth-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the works of Pier Agostino Gallo and Ottaviano Rossi, relating wine production in the area with characteristics still noticeable today in Franciacorta wines.
Ancient vineyards - a 70 hectare Estate - now replanted adopting the most up-to-date "eco-environmental" vine growing techniques with flowering roses as a heading.
Awards and acknowledgements
2007 5 Bunches from the AIS Guide "DUEMILAVINI 2007" awarded to Franciacorta Brut Casa delle Colonne Millesimato 2000
2007 5 Globes from the Gastronomy and Wine Guide "BERE SPUMANTE 2007" awarded to Franciacorta Brut Casa delle Colonne Millesimato 2000
2007 "Gambero Rosso" for Italian Sparkling white wines in 2007: Oscar for Quality/Price awarded to Franciacorta Brut Rosè
2006 Fratelli Berlucchi presents the new Franciacorta bottle: the historical Company emblem is reproduced here for the first time in relief on the glass of the Franciacorta Docg Millesimati wines.
2005 Red "Casa delle Colonne" is born; a special Reserve in just 6,000 bottles - the excellent result of a Cabernet Franc-Merlot marriage, with long refinement in large and medium-sized wooden casks.
2004 Our Franciacorta Docg millesimati (vintage dated) wines inaugurate "Made in Italy" at Harrods, London.
2004 Prestigious car makers Bentley, Jaguar and Audi, present their latest models in the Company in partnership with Fratelli Berlucchi.
2003 Black label Franciacorta Docg millesimato (vintage dated), reaches our Carabinieri (Military Police) at Sarajevo and NATO troops in Kosovo.
2003 Pia Donata Berlucchi, company Managing Director, is elected National President of the "Le Donne del Vino" (Wine women) Association.
The "Franciacorta Benessere" (Franciacorta well-being) adventure begins with the production of creams.
2002 Historical wine tasting: lots of journalists tasted 30 years of our Red Wine and 20 years of Franciacorta Brut, during the opening day to celebrate our new cellars.
2001 Gandalf Arlines offers on board all of our Franciacorta Brut Docg and Terre of Franciacorta Doc red and white.
1999 Ferrari drinks our "Franciacorta millesimé method champenois" Docg at the "Ferrari Challenge" in U.S.A.
1997 We celebrate the 30 years of our Doc production, now named Docg.
1995 Alitalia forgets French Champagnes and starts to serve our Franciacorta Brut Docg Vintage '91.
1992 We receive the price "Golden Label" for the best label of Italian spumante method champenois, among 58 participants.
1989 Fiat chooses the same wine to celebrate the success of her "Tipo" and we give it her with a special label: "Tipo, the car of 1989".
1988 Giorgio Strehler, art director of Piccolo Teatro di Milano and well known artist, shows to Europe how much he is in love with our "Franciacorta millesimé method champenois", drinking it during the performance of "As you like me" of Pirandello.
1967 All of vineyards (70 hectares) are declared part of Doc Franciacorta.
Our production includes a vast range of Franciacorta, Wines and Grappas all created by means of the same care and professionalism. We have divided our products into four families each comprising various types: the following pages contain a brief description of the characteristics and the gastronomic combinations.