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We knew the game had changed about five years ago when, in collaboration with one of our most forward thinking (and brave) customers we made an audacious pitch to turf out Moet et Chandon as ‘house and pouring’ fizz at an internationally famous hotel and replace it with Ferghettina Franciacorta …. and succeeded!

No retros, no envelopes, no umbrellas, no branded bar equipment, no glossy support ads, no golf days (we didn’t have any… and still don’t!), just quality, lovely, lovely quality, a genuine, credible narrative and good, fair prices.

Not only did we win the main prize but we also ended up with a full feature page of Franciacorta in the list as well and it wasn’t just a flash in the pan or a brief moment in time, five years later Franciacorta is still pouring fizz at the hotel and if anything is selling more strongly than ever.

For sure that is still the big success story, the ‘special’ one but whereas back then it was probably the only success story that’s simply not the case any longer, there are now dozens of similar successes, mainly in slightly more modest venues for sure but plenty of them, to the extent that if the current rate of growth in sales continues our Franciacorta sales will actually outstrip our Champagne.

That’s how far Franciacorta has come, it’s not just ‘acceptable’ now, it’s positively desirable. Quite simply, if you’re not listing Franciacorta, retail and wholesale you’re making a mistake, you’re missing out.

Of course when talking Italian fizz Prosecco completely monsters the numbers but maybe because Prosecco has singlehandedly broken down any resistance to the idea of Italy as a source for good fizz, it has allowed Franciacorta to ride in on the slipstream, grab those occasional ‘trade up’ sales and inevitably make its very favourable impressions with drinkers.

Champagne is no longer the only ‘up market’ fizz in town and now that status has been successfully challenged we’re starting to see action right across the piece as well. Individual producers making high quality ‘bottle fermented’ fizz at competitive price points are also suddenly finding ready sales for their wines in the UK.

With Christmas coming this seems like the perfect time to put together a compelling Italian Fizz promotion, put at least one on your Christmas tasting, feature a couple in your communications and make a feature display in-store. We think you’ll be surprised, it’s not the exercise in pushing water uphill that it used to be… surf’s up!

Ferghettina Franciacorta Rosé Brut 2013

A soft and rounded sparkling wine with berry and bready notes. Delicate and elegant. A delicately coloured ‘onion skin’ rosé The nose reveals hints of berries, fresh currants and toast, with more sweet berries and savoury flavours on the palate. A charming and pretty wine.

Ferghettina Franciacorta Extra Brut 2010

Italy’s answer to vintage Krug! Immediately impressive, the wine has a beautiful pale-mid golden colour and a maelstrom of tiny bubbles. The long lees ageing gives it an aristocratic, serious and very refined quality. A nose of apples and toasty notes from yeast lees contact. Big flavours, but also very fresh with great acidity and just perfect ‘mousse’.

Alasia Moscato d’Asti 2016

This is about as sweet, as giddy and as tickly as an exuberant new puppy. The only difference is that while the puppy isn’t just for Christmas, this is.

Alasia Spumante Brut 2009

A lovely quality dry sparkler from Araldica. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and crucially, a very attractive touch of bottle age combine to make a pretty serious bottle. There’s a freshness, a brightness and a ‘crackle’ about it, there’s creaminess, breadiness and leesy notes too. It’s relaxed and fairly joyful but has a serious side as well.

Altemasi Trento Millesimato Spumante Brut 2012

Fantastic quality sparkler from northern Italy – mature and complex from four years ageing on the lees. Fresh citrus and apple aromas with pronounced honeyed and savoury brioche notes. Persistent bubbles with lemony notes, ripe apple flavours, Full, long and complex.