Above: Nino Franco in a recent photo taken outside the Villa Barberina, the family’s bed & breakfast.
The Independent Wine Review
February 15, 2014
The wines of the Nino Franco winery are quality benchmarks in Prosecco and specifically Valdobbiadene (North East Italy) and this is thanks to the tireless work of Primo Franco, who both labours in the vineyards and travels around the world to explain the differences between his Prosecco and other Prosecco.
At a revealing dinner in February 2013 (full article here) Primo Franco rallied against volume-orientated producers in Prosecco and extolled the virtues of wines produced from hand-tended vines located on the verdant hillsides of his Valdobbiadene, over those that are machine tended and located on the plains below. The tasting of Primo’s range of “Nino Franco” Prosecco that followed was conclusive and showed that vines tended with love, affection and human hands(!) tended to produce wines that are more flavoursome, complex and attractive than mass produced equivalents. It is this that is that is at the heart of the Nino Franco winemaking philosophy.
Originally established in 1919 as the “Cantine Franco” winery by Antonio Franco, today the Nino Franco winery produces more than a million bottles of wine a year. Whilst the majority of grapes are purchased from a network of growers (each of whom are assisted by Nino Franco technicians throughout the year) a few hectares of vineyards are estate owned.
More than half a dozen DOCG classified Prosecco are currently produced at the Nino Franco winery, with “Faive” (a Merlot-based sparkling rosé) and the new “Primo Brut” (a sparkling Chardonnay) the only wines of the Nino Franco range not to be produced from Glera grapes. The “Primo Franco” Prosecco Superiore may be this winery’s signature bottling, but two single vineyard Prosecco (the “Riva di San Floriano” and “Grave di Stecca” bottling) are just as (if not more) characterful and accomplished.