Ca’ del Bosco winery tour review, Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy

A playground of artistic and sensory delights sits within the cellars of the Ca’ del Bosco winery in Franciacorta in the Italian region of Lombardy. From March, visitors can experience a tour around the winery’s new cellars, as well as gain an understanding of Ca’ del Bosco’s history, wine-crafting expertise, and investment in contemporary art.

Ca’ del Bosco was born when founder Maurizio Zanella went on a trip to France’s Champagne region and began making plans for his own wine-growing venture on land owned by his mother. Translated as “house in the woods”, and just like a seedling, this once tiny farm has flourished into a well-run, state-of-the-art winery.

Il Peso del Tempo Sospeso (2003) sculpture by Stefano Bombardieri

Arriving at Ca’ del Bosco in the autumn, there’s a sense of calm as mist settles over the countryside, and wiry vines emerge from the earth. Fruit is harvested in August, so by October the winery is virtually empty, yet the brand’s presence stands out through the many striking sculptures dotted around the grounds and buildings. 

‘11 fotografi 1 vino’ 

Over a celebratory glass of sparkling wine, our group was joined by Zanella, who explained more about how the brand was built, and architects Roberto and Gabriele Falconi, who took us on a tour of their latest underground design. 

Below ground, the temperature drops, the air is engulfed with strong red wine aromas and bottles are placed in tilted contraptions to help them gradually mature. We continue walking through the beautifully-lit caves, and stop at a wall of black and white photographs. As part of a project commissioned by Zanella in the 1980s, individual photographers visited Ca’ del Bosco to capture its character through the lens. Zanella’s only request was that they didn’t include the Ca’ del Bosco label. Helmut Newton, Don McCullin and William Klein took part, and the shots went on to be published.

An art installation made up of thousands of Cuvée Prestige bottles

When saying goodbye to the Ca’ del Bosco team we were each given a copy of the 11 fotografi 1 vino (“11 photographers one wine”) book. Just like how the photographers explored the brand beyond the label, the art installations within the winery’s new extension place emphasis on Ca’ del Bosco’s mission to use art as a tool for understanding wine making. Finding out about the people who put the sparkle into this wine makes you acknowledge them as artists in their own right.

One of the tunnels to the new cellar area

Fine dining and stunning scenery

A visit to the three Michelin-star restaurant, Da Vittorio in Brusaporto, was an experience like no other. Ten exquisite courses were served, as well as a selection of Ca’ del Bosco wines, from the vibrant bubbles of the Cuvée Prestige to powerful reds such as Pinéro. The restaurant’s signature pasta dish is whisked up at your table. To enjoy it, you’re given hilarious bibs which read “oggi sono goloso” (“today I’m greedy”). The whole experience was totally flamboyant, but utterly charming.

The next day we explored the stunning region of Franciacorta. First, we stopped at Iseo, a town on the lake, and checked out the wares on sale in the small market. Next, we headed to Brescia, which has been named Italy’s capital of culture for 2023. A guide showed us the sites, and we spotted the artwork of Stefano Bombardieri. His series of rhinoceros sculptures suspended from ceilings are also on display in the winery. Our final stop was Nuovo Nando restaurant in Brescia, where we tried a traditional bread gnocchi and other delicacies plus a few more glasses of Ca’ del Bosco. 

The view from the hotel room balcony at Relais Franciacorta

Where to stay

You’ll find simple elegance and tranquillity at the four-star Relais Franciacorta hotel. Rooms with balconies overlook the expanse of the distant Lake Iseo and its surrounding mountains. Plus, there’s a tasting menu served with Ca’ del Bosco, and you’ll enjoy delicious buffets in the sunshine-filled breakfast room.

Another hotel option near to the winery is the Cappucini Resort in Cologne. It’s housed in a monastery and there’s two swimming pools, a restaurant and spa with Turkish bath. Cappucini also provides excellent views of Franciacorta’s vineyards.

Kaye O’Doherty was a guest of Ca’ del Bosco. Via Albano Zanella, 13, 25030 Erbusco BS, Italy;

A selection of Ca’ del Bosco’s wines

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