Sitting in the vineyards of Mosnel in Italy while enjoying a picnic and a bottle of sparkling Franciacorta wine is an ideal way to pass an afternoon.
Imagine sitting in the middle of a vineyard. The sky is clear blue, and the sun is shining. You find a shady spot under a tree and put down a blanket. You stretch out on the blanket, open a picnic basket, and enjoy a lovely lunch with a bottle of sparkling wine while looking out at rows of vines. Doesn’t that sound dreamy? Well, that dream can be a reality in the vineyards of Mosnel Winery in Franciacorta, Italy.
Exploring Franciacorta Sparkling Wines
Franciacorta is a lesser-known wine region in the Brescia province of Lombardy in northern Italy. Located between Milano and Lago di Garda, Franciacorta sits in the hills south of the foot of Lake Iseo. Consisting of 19 villages, Franciacorta is a small region with only 2900 hectares (7,166 acres) of grapes planted. In Franciacorta, you can find some of Italy’s finest sparkling wines. Guido Berlucchi, the father of Franciacorta, produced the region's first sparkling wines here in 1961. Franciacorta became the fifth Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) in Italy in 1967.
Note: Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or DOC, translates to “designation of controlled origin.” There are 329 DOCs in Italy.
Birth of the Vineyards of Mosnel
The Barboglio family inherited property in the Franciacorta region in 1836. The property included sixteenth-century cellars and lands for cattle and fruit trees, as well as some vines for wine production for the family. In the 1950s and 1960s, following the lead of Berlucchi, fourth-generation Emanuela Barboglio exchanged fruit trees for vines. She began producing sparkling wine in 1968. Emanuela Barboglio is considered the “mother of Franciacorta” and was one of the founders of the Franciacorta Consortium.
In 1976, the Barboglio family changed the name from Azienda Agricola Barzanò Barboglio to Mosnel, old Celtic for “rock pile”. Mosnel has 42 hectares (103 acres) in Camignone di Passirano. The soils are rich in big stones that had to be removed by hand, resulting in a big rock pile that inspired the name.
The vineyards of Mosnel, which consist of 36 parcels, are planted with the three grapes of Franciacorta—Chardonnay (70%), Pinot Blanc (20%), and Pinot Noir (10%). And, they have added one hectare (a little less than 2.5 acres) of Erbamat, an indigenous grape from the region. Erbamat, with its high acidity and late ripening, was approved in 2021 to be a part of Franciacorta.
The vineyard, which was certified organic in 2014, surrounds the winery. The winery includes buildings and houses from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Emanuela Barboglio’s children, Giulio and Lucia Barzanò, now run the winery.
Wine Tasting in the Vineyards of Mosnel
When you visit Mosnel, you can tour the winery and do a tasting of the wines, paired with local cured meats and cheeses. But what is special when visiting Mosnel is to picnic in the vineyards. After taking a tour of the winery, you receive a backpack filled with food, two wine glasses, and a bottle of Franciacorta. You can wander through the vineyards to find the spot where you want to set up your picnic.
Mosnel offers different menus, including a vegetarian option. The Picnic “Eno Chic” In The Vineyard, which I enjoyed, includes ricotta and spinach pie with nuts; a mixed salad with caprino cheese, poppy seeds, and extra virgin olive oil; stir-fried brown rice with zucchini; a tasting of local cheeses; an apricot jam tart; a piece of bread; a bottle of water; and a bottle of wine.
Mosnel Franciacorta Sparkling Wines
The Franciacorta sparkling wines from Mosnel are fresh and elegant in style. For the picnic, you can choose a bottle of a Non-Vintage Brut, a Non-Vintage Brut Rosé, a Pas Dosé, a Brut Nature, or a Satèn. Mosnel hand harvests all its grapes in small boxes. The grapes are gently pressed, separated by variety and vineyard. Only the first pressed juice, the high-quality must, is used for sparkling wines. (The second and third presses are sold for grappa.) Mosnel ferments 30% of the base wine in used French barrique and 70 percent in stainless steel.
The Non-Vintage Brut, Non-Vintage Brut Rosé, Pas Dosé, and Brut Nature are all a Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir blend. Each one spends more than 24 months on the lees.
- The Brut has floral, apple, pear, melon, and stone fruit aromas, as well as notes of almond and wild herbs and is crisp with fresh acidity and a long, elegant finish.
- The Brut Rosé has notes of cherries, strawberries, red currants, and blood orange. It has a tangy acidity.
- The Pas Dosé is a dry wine with white peach, lemon, and wild herbs aromas and vibrant acidity.
- The Brut Nature, made from organically grown grapes, is very crisp and clean with refreshing high acidity and high minerality.
Note: For more on the process of making sparkling wines, you can read this article on Wander.
Franciacorta Satèn is a sparkling wine made from 100% white grapes. For Mosnel, the wine is 100% Chardonnay. The wine is fermented in two- and three-year-old barrels for at least 30 months. Satèn has less bars of pressure than other Franciacorta, resulting in small bubbles and a creamier, rounder texture on the palate. The Mosnel Satèn has floral, stone fruit, almond, and vanilla notes and a supple texture with tangy acidity.
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Your Picnic in the Vineyards of Mosnel
Sitting in the vineyards of Mosnel while enjoying a picnic with a bottle of the Franciacorta sparkling wines is an ideal way to pass an afternoon. And you will leave not only with the memories of a beautiful day in the vineyard but also with the picnic backpack and two wine glasses. Check out Wander for more of our favorite wineries and other great places to enjoy while visiting Italy.