Contratto is returning to its roots and producing sparkling wines, "metodo classico" only. Six different sparkling wines have been released in 2011, wines that are undoubtably higher in quality than previous years and come with a fresh new look and packaging.
The entry-level Extra Brut is the Millesimato. The wine is named for the fact that it is a vintage wine and produced every year, not a combination of vintages as you find in "basic" champagne. All the wines, with the exception of the Millesimato and Bacco d'Oro that are blends of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, are exclusive from one varietal. The high percentage of Pinot Noir is typical for sparkling wines from Piedmont and distinguishes the wines from their "sparkling colleagues" in Franciacorta.
The wine For England was named as such in 1930, when Contratto began producing a low-dosage wine for the English market. At that time, all Champagne and sparkling wines were extremely sweet and the Royal Court of England was the first in Europe to develop a drier palate for wine. Today For England is a zero dosage (no added liquor d'expedition) as well as the For England Rosé (100% Pinot Noir) and the Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay). The fact that all wines are vintage and three of those made without a dosage, reflects the philosophy of Contratto wine making. The idea is to make great wine first and then just add bubbles with a second fermentation.
Bacco d'Oro is again a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. It has always been a less dry sparkling wine and remains so, however with 10gr/lt of sugar it is still considered a Brut. This wine is a local favorite and is therefore only sold in Italy.
The vinification is done according to classic method standards. After the initial alcoholic fermentation the base wines are vinified separately, then are aged for 8 months in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. A second fermentation takes place in bottle for a good six weeks and is further enhanced with bottle aging on the lees for a minimum of 3 years in Contratto's underground cellars at a constant temperature of 13° C. The wine is riddled by hand to collect the sediments, then disgorged by machine and closed by its final cork. Another aging process of one year in the cellar refines the wine until it is finally released for sale.