The winefully Magazine


It is interesting to understand why Pinot Noir is so loved, sought-after, and in some way revered by enthusiasts from all over the world. Part of its charm comes from the difficulty in cultivating its vine. It is a delicate and precocious variety, anything but versatile: suitable for specific places and climates only. The point is that when the right conditions exist, including the hand of men capable of enhancing the grape variety, the results can reach extraordinary levels. Pinot Noir also has the particular ability to enhance the characteristics of very small areas, so the micro-differences that exist between them, in a precise and multifaceted ways. A drop of a few meters in height, or a minimal discrepancy in soil level, is enough for two parcels, even very close together, to bring essentially different wines into the glass.

The homeland of this vine is France, and in particular Burgundy, where it express the highest quality levels. It can then be found in various other areas of the world characterized by cool climates and significant temperature ranges. These include Germany, Austria, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, especially in Oregon and California. Even in Italy it can be found in different regions. In Oltrepò Pavese, where historically it is used to produce sparkling wines, as well as in Franciacorta. In Friuli, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo. Lately it has also spread to the south, in Campania, Basilicata and Sicily, in the Etna area. And then it is found almost everywhere in the Alps: in South Tyrol, in particular, where it is also called Blauburgunder, various producers have been able to create wines that stand out for their texture and expressiveness.

Pinot Noir is a historical presence in South Tyrol, where it has been cultivated for over two centuries. To describe the qualitative peaks that it is able to reach in this region, it is necessary to explore the area of the villages of Egna and Montagna, and in particular the Mazzon plateau. Here, at an altitude of between about 250 and 450 metres, there is the Mazzon Vineyard, where in the mid-twentieth century some producers began to focus precisely on this vine. We are talking about a vineyard that covers about 60 hectares and boasts a particularly friendly position for the cultivation of Pinot Noir. Mazzon faces west. The mountains to the north perform a very important function, because in the early hours of the day they protect from the sun’s rays, avoiding excessive heat. Furthermore, they shelter the vineyard from the harsher winds that come from the north and east, leaving room instead for the Ora, the mild breeze that blows from Lake Garda. The vineyard then enjoys an excellent amount of light, which extends long into the afternoon. When the sun goes down, temperatures drop abruptly, determining the right range which is fundamental for the quality of Pinot Noir.

Mazzon features about a dozen South Tyrolean producers, who manage to obtain results of considerable interest. The wines of the various artisans who work the vineyard show some common traits. Among these a clear, fresh and sparkling fruit, often intertwined with spicy notes, for an overall profile capable of giving satisfactions after just a few years, and at the same time multiplying them over time. Among the names of these realities, Gottardi stands out, today led by Elisabeth Gottardi, who in the 1980s began a specific work on Pinot Noir, and over the course of a decade has managed to obtain levels of absolute excellence.

“Riserva Mazzon” is produced by the winery exclusively in the best years, working the grapes of the oldest vineyards. 100% Pinot Noir, ages for one year in new barriques and 14 months in large barrels, to then refine for 6 months in the bottle. The result is a complex red, a typical trait of the wines that come from this important vineyard. The 2016 vintage presents itself to the eye with a bright, shiny red. The nose smells of wild berries, with a particular inclination towards strawberries; in the background, spices and medicinal herbs. In the mouth it articulates a rich structure, with a graceful, elegant tannin, integrated with an aromatic profile of great breadth. Long, persistent, fresh and savory tolls chase and prolong the pleasant sensations on the palate. Immediately intriguing, it also has the right characteristics to remain in the cellar and evolve its profile over time.


Graziano Nani

Over 15 years in communication, today Graziano Nani is Branded Content Lead in Chora, where he deals with podcasts. Sommelier AIS, he writes for Intravino and takes care of @HellOfaWine on Instagram. He teaches wine communication at the Catholic University. He deals with the same theme in the “La Retroetiquette” podcast, of which he is co-author, and with speeches at dedicated events.