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Franciacorta is a small wine region in Lombardy, Northern Italy, near the border with Switzerland and Lake Iseo. Franciacorta is seen as Italy’s counterpart to Champagne because the quality of the Franciacorta sparkling wines is impressively high. There are several reasons for this. Like Champagne, the sparkling wines from Franciacorta are also made under strict regulations in regard to bottle ageing (minimum 18 months) and undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes that are used to make the Franciacorta sparkling wines, are also high in acid and low in sugar, like the grapes that are used in Champagne. Under the Italian quality assurance laws, for wine and cheese, Franciacorta is classified as a DOC region (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). In addition, the sparkling wines from Franciacorta also meet the stringent quality requirements for next level , DOCG classification (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garanita). This classification requires that the sparkling wines from Franciacorta must be bottled in the same area that the grapes are grown in and, be subjected to a tasting by the Ministry of Agriculture.