Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
All rights reserved
The inspiring and indomitable Travelling GourmetTM tastes Italy’s answer to Champagne in…
MOUTHWATERING Ristorante OTTO which used to be the headquarters of the dreaded Traffic Police. The Export Manager of Bellavista Winery, Allessandro Vallecchi enthusiastically explained about his wines. Allessandro was pleasantly suprised when he learned that I had visited his winery some years back and that I knew his boss, Francesca Moretti, the 2nd daughter of the founder, 73 year old Vittorio Moretti. I remembered my visit well. It was in the late Spring and I had just completed a stint as a Wine Judge in the Concorso Enologico Internazionale of Vinitaly in Verona. I also visited another of Vittorio’s wineries, namely futuristic Petra winery and was most delighted to stay in the decadently luxurious L’Andana Hotel with a huge jacuzzi in my suite..but that is another story.
Allessandro elaborated, “Vittorio is a building and construction tycoon..he later diversified into hotels and wines. Each of his three daughters is in charge of one sector of his business empire..” Vittorio liked the great Champagne house like Krug and Bollinger and so decided to produce sparkling wines form the Franciacorta region just at the foothills of the Italian Alps. The macro-climate of the region is very Mediterranean due to the proximity of lakes like languid Lago d’Iseo, which stores the heat from the sun absorbed during the day to release it in the night. many so-called experts get it wrong when they refer to Micro-Climate…which is the climate around the vine! The grapes get more time to ripen and then have more sugar but less acidity. The shape pf the Bellavista bottles has been likened to giant perfume bottles, but was actually inspired by the bottles used to served bulk vino a tavola (table wine) in the local trattoria.
Well, for a start did you know that these sparkling wines are made in the exact same way like Champagne in France? Of course, you CANNOT call them champagne because only wines made in the Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) Champagne can be called by that name. Although this is so, somehow these wines from Bellavista are not so high in acid as many champagnes. The pressure in the bottle is 5 Atm compared to Champagne’s 6 Atm.
I savoured a memorable meal matched with Bellavista wines. My Antipasto was…Carpaccio di Piovra or Italian Octopus with crisp Celery salad and taggia Olive Pesto with some warm Olive bread.
Very delicious with lively Bellavista Non Vintage Alma Cuvee Brut redolent with pear nuances. It has 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.
Al dente (firm to the bite in the middle) Linguine (like Mee Pok) with very flavoursome Boston Lobster hunks in a feather-light slightly tomatoey spicy gravy…was paired with coppery salmon pink Bellavista Rose 2008 with 35% Pinot Noir and 65% Chardonnay.
The fine perlage and perfume of wild strawberries and Golden Delicious apples flowers and Salvia (sage) plus a nice rounded acidity made it a nice foil to the seafood. Flavours of almonds and blackcurrants enticed. A wine of intriguing personality.
Another Frutti di Mare (fruit of the sea) for the main course! Boneless Fillet of Royal Sea Bream, a white fish with Zucchini, Pecorino Cheese (sheep’s milk cheese) drizzled with a sauce made from Vermentino wine. Another vintage 2008, in this case Bellavista Brut. Fine, tight bubbles made little explosions on my tongue and palate releasing their flavours of white stone fruit. I sniffed after swirling with the glass on a flat hard surface (the table) to discover flowers, and Salvia (Sage) on the first nose. Nota Bene: when you spy someone holding the wine glass and swirling the wine, he is not only trying to show off but also showing his ignorance of the correct way to swirl!
Oh Madonna! Dolce or Dessert! You simply cannot live without a nice sweet finale to your every meal! I confess: I have a sweet tooth! Torta alle Mele Verdi…or green apple tart with Vanilla Gelato. Bellavista Saten 2009 was the wine with my sweet. Saten means silk and referes to the smooth as silk texture of this finely crafted wine…bursting with complex perfumes of zesty, cheeky citrus, hazelnuts and honey. If it were a woman it would be Emma Stone, youthful yet somehow mature with exuberance and that certain timeless ‘je nais se quoi’…See Emma in her latest movie “Magic in the Moonlight”. Wine is sparkling sunlight held together by water… zum Wohl! 🙂
Bellavista Winery TMT Emozioni SRL Via Bellavista, 5 25030 Erbusco (Bs) Italy
You can order these wines from Singapore’s premier wine importer Giorgio Ferrari Pte. Ltd at Tel: +65 6749 3565
28 Maxwell Road
Tel: 6227 6819
They say that Il Padrino also likes Bellavista…