Villa, a medieval hamlet in the heart of Franciacorta, was fought over for centuries because of the quality of its wines. And the story continues: In 1960 Alessandro Bianchi purchased Villa, whose buildings date to the XVI century, and the hundred hectares of land surrounding it. The estate was very different then. Indeed, winemaking was limited to the fifteenth century cellar, while the primary crops were wheat and grain. From the time Franciacorta began to take an interest in bubbly, Alessandro Bianchi was one of the leaders, passionately supporting this new winemaking trend, and towards the end of the 1970s he was one of the first to adopt the new production methods. At the same time he began to make the first changes to the estate, abandoning mixed farming in favor of winemaking. In a short time quality and excellence became Villa’s goal. The Azienda Agricola Villa has resolutely applied the philosophy of terroir to fully realize all of the potential that can be expressed by the estate’s Franciacorta. For Villa terroir is not a mysterious concept. Villa understands that every place has a distinct terroir (and in our case more than one). Every parcel of Villa’s vineyards indeed differs with respect to way the vines grow, and therefore the true significance of the term terroir refers to many factors, including the microenvironments.
After a careful zonal study of the terrains, undertaken to determine which parcels are best suited to which varietals, the Azienda Villa went further, working to determine which clones and root stocks are best suited to the specific characteristics of each parcel. We therefore have an estate that grows primarily Chardonnay, but whose differing terroirs allow the production of grapes whose characteristics differ because of vineyard and clonal differences, and thus display very different aromatic and phenolic potentials. Thus are the vineyards that produce the grapes destined to all of the Estate’s wines, including all the Franciacorta DOCG wines.
Villa’s renowned wines come from 37 hectares of vineyards. 85% of the vineyard area is dedicated to Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, which contribute to Villa’s prestigious bubbly, and also to the production of a much smaller volume of Curtefranca DOC and Sebino IGT White. The remaining 15% is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Barbera, and Nebbiolo, which compose Villa’s excellent Curtefranca DOC and Sebino IGT Red wines. The land is responsible for the refined flavors and unmistakable aromas of Villa’s wines, which are made exclusively from grapes from proprietary vineyards. Another important thing to note is that Villa’s Franciacorta is exclusively a vintage wine, as opposed to the blends of several vintages that are also allowed by the Disciplinare governing Franciacorta production. The goal behind this decision is to highlight the characteristics of a truly unique set of terroirs, produced by a soil developed from alternating beds of clays and cherty marls rich in marine fossils. Careful geopedological studies have in fact revealed the presence of Jurassic marine sediments on Villa’s lands, whereas much of the rest of Franciacorta’s soils derive from glacial moraines.
Respect for nature, for tradition, and for quality form the foundations of Villa’s winemaking philosophy. The use of natural and organic substances to manage the vineyards, short pruning, limited quantities of grapes per vine, and the care of and respect for the surroundings are concrete examples of a philosophy of life the estate’s owners firmly believe in. They follow this path with both their still wines and their Franciacorta, because decades of experience have shown them that quality of necessity derives from respect for the raw materials and all the changes they naturally undergo.