2008 Contadi Castaldi, Satèn, Franciacorta DOCG Sparkling Wine, Lombardy, Italy.
One of the best values in Italy, the Contadi Castaldi Satèn is a fabulous vintage Méthode Champenoise sparkler that way over delivers for the price with crystalline precision and minerality along with its delicate and vibrant mousse, it is pure class. The 2008 will be hard to find now, but with a string of great vintages to chose from, any year you pick will be gloriously rewarding for this Satèn bottling, this is such a gem and perfect for small celebrations and or guilt free week night indulgences. Franciacorta, the northern Italy region in Lombardy’s lake district, produces arguably Italy’s best Champagne style wines, with classic Champagne varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being widely planted here, along with some Pinot Blanc as well. The cool climate, in the foothills of the Italian Alps and ancient glacier influenced sandy/chalky soils make for an excellent terroir for bubbly and there are some outstanding wineries to chose from like Contadi Castaldi, as well as stars including Berlucchi, Ca’ del Bosco and Bellavista, to name a few, all of which are stellar and luxurious options. The Satèn style of Franciacorta is dry and crisply detailed, but always silky and creamy in form, it must be made with white grapes only, which delivers richness on the palate with this Contadi Castaldi version showing lemon, apple, golden fig and lovely leesy brioche along with a touch of clove and hazelnut.
As Decanter Magazine notes, these Franciacorta Satèn wines are Blanc de Blancs always produced mostly from Chardonnay grapes, with a minimum of 50% Chardonnay and or a maximum of 50% Pinot Bianco and is unlike other sparkling wines made in Franciacorta or Champagne having less pressure in the bottle, with a less sugar in their dosage, which means the fizz is softer, similar to a crémant Champagne in moth feel. The Satèn style sparkling wines cannot exceed 5 atmospheres of pressure so they are not as easy to saber as the higher pressure styles. This makes Satèn nicely opulent, but still steely and fresh, these are perfect sipping sparklers and great for any occasion as well as being sublime with buttery dishes and a wide range of cuisines. The Satèn Spumante(s) are aged for a minimum 18 months on the lees and must be Brut level dry with the grapes being all hand harvested and whole cluster pressed as well as having the secondary fermentation exclusively in bottle, just like Champagne. The Franciacorta appellation was originally established as a DOC in 1967 and gaining its full DOCG status in 1995, at which point things got very exciting for this region with boom of grower producers, like Contadi Castaldi, that became famous almost overnight, rivaling the Grand Marques of Champagne for quality and rising above Italy’s other sparkling wine, Prosecco. As an interesting side note, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, machine harvesting was allowed for the first and only time in the 2020 vintage.
($28-33 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive