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Trentino Winemaker’s Lunch at Del Posto: An Intimate Glance at Cooperation, Dedication, Stories and Superb Wines

I was honored to be invited by The Consortium of Trentino Wines to attend their winemaker’s lunch at DEL POSTO restaurant in October. The Trentino region produces about an equivalent amount of both red and white wines, using indigenous and international grapes. The focus of the lunch was to highlight the character driven sparkling and white wines, which have drawn significant acclaim. With its unique location and history of German influence, the area produces white wines that display easy drinking fruit and mineral flavours with a backbone of crisp acidity that are emblematic of the region.

The fundamental motif of wines presented was one of mutual cooperation amongst growers and winemakers. Cooperative wineries offer small family growers an opportunity to retain and work their ancestral lands, where otherwise there would be no economic opportunity to do so. The generally small plots of land these farmers own are on steep slopes of the Dolomites in the Alps, necessitating all vineyard processes to be done by hand. The cooperative provides the growers with the freedom to maintain their family cultivation traditions that have been passed along from generation to generation, along with the benefit of access to modern winery facilities and international marketing resources.

Matteo Mattei and Andrea Pedrolli at Del Posto, NYC, October 28, 2014

I was seated with Matteo Mattei, General Director of Cantina D’Isera and Andrea Pedrolli of Cantina Roverè della Luna. It was such an amazing experience to enjoy phenomenal wines and a lovely lunch in a relaxed atmosphere with Matteo and Andrea. I had the opportunity to seek their insight on their processes, and feel that experience reciprocated by producers on their first trip to the United States, exuberant to share their passion with a new land.

The highlights of our wonderful conversation [my Italian is rather rusty] revolved around the protection of the environment and the preservation of the culture of the generations of families that live and work on the land. Farmers know that they are passing the land down to their future generations, and therefore vineyard cultivation is done without the use of chemicals [although not certified and not advertised].

The wine that Matteo presented was a sparkling wine made solely of Chardonnay grapes in the Champagne method. This is his family’s “Sunday wine”, it is meant to be enjoyed throughout the long family meals traditionally held on Sunday. It is light, airy and its purpose is to be a palate cleanser for all of the wonderful food served. Every house [family] in the area has their own version, Matteo’s grandfather passed the tradition down to him. “It’s a story, not a wine.”

The inner workings of the co-op were presented in great detail from Andrea. She relayed how involved the individual growers are in all stages of the wine making processes. In addition to typical interactions of living and farming in close proximity, they hold a yearly “sharing of ideas” meeting, which becomes a very vocally democratic process for determining changes (if any) to all aspects of wine-making operations. Additionally, I received a sneak peak into next year; she said the summer of 2014 was very rainy, “luckily this didn’t damage the quality of the grapes, the vintage is safe” but they will unfortunately have a reduced production.

Andrea, with her English skills, reflected the spirit of the cooperatives, she was there to promote her wines, yet also was instrumental in translating for her fellow winemakers. Just as important to her was promoting and disseminating knowledge of the Trentino region, in addition to her wines.

Cantina D’Isera 1907 Riserva Brut Trentodoc

Winery: Cantina d’Isera was founded in 1907 under the name Cantina Sociale when the area was still under the rule of the Hapsburg Empire. Today there are over 200 members that cultivate 230 hectares of land. The cooperative operates under the principle that “A good wine is born in the vineyard”.

Philosophy: To “appreciate and love the wines created from the passion of man and the generosity of the hills of Isera”.

Tasting Notes: Pale straw in colour with a sparkling mineral aroma. Delicate apple and floral notes glided on an undercurrent of silky bubbles, whilst clean minerals comprised the elegant finish. Incredibly refined and easy drinking, this is a glass you keep reaching for.
100% Chardonnay
12.5% Alcohol
€8 [Average price in Italy, it does not have a US importer yet.]

La Vis Ritratti del Diaol Chardonnay 2012

Winery: Cantina La Vis is located in the Avisiane Hills and dates back to 1850 when the Cembran family began producing wine. Officially established in 1948, today the cooperative has 800 members that cultivate more than 800 hectares of vineyards. The label is the work of Giovanni Segantini, a Trentino born artist known for his landscape paintings of the Alps along with rustic scenes of people such as peasant, farmers and shepherds, working the earth. Noted for the connections people have with nature, the cooperative chose his paintings as they resonate with their own ideals and people, the growers are passionate and proud of their interwoven relationship with the earth.

Winemaking: The grapes were sourced from a single estate vineyard located on a steep hill. It is the highest quality wine they make, with only 9000 bottles produced in this vintage. Unoaked, each vintage is known to age quite well.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant gold in colour with aromas of lemon along with hints of pineapple. The lengthy finish of slate minerals complimented rich lemon and buttered bread flavours. A wonderful display of rich plush flavours that maintain a delicate edge.
100% Chardonnay
13.5% Alcohol
$55 [average price]

Roverè della Luna Winchel ‘Quaranta Jugheri’ Gewürztraminer 2012

Winery: The cooperative of Roveré della Luna was founded in 1919 by 14 winemakers passionate about crafting excellent wines. It is located in the most northern village of Trentino at the base of an “immense calcareous landslide” in an area known for its oak trees. Today the cooperative consists of 300 members cultivating over 420 hectares of vineyards in the DOC’s of Trentino, Alto Adige and Valdadige.

Winemaking: A dynamic, holistic approach is given to winemaking. The “extremely modern” winery is based on the people and the passion they have for growing and producing wines, respect for the land, along with a dedication to research and innovation. This is their first vintage of Gewürztraminer, grapes were sourced from the Winchel vineyard, and only 1480 bottles were produced.

Tasting Notes: Deep gold in colour with radiating aromas of juicy peach, rose and traces of petrol. Fresh apple and peach flavours harmonized with spicy ginger and crushed white peppercorn, whilst clean minerals lingered refreshingly between each sip.
100% Gewürztraminer
13.5% Alcohol
No. 0028 of 1480

Fondazione Edmund Mach Castel San Michele Moscato Rosa delle Dolomiti IGT 2012

A luscious pairing: Moscato Rosa with chocolate hazelnut mousse bar, spicy hazelnuts & citrus syrup

Winery: Fondazione Edmund Mach was founded by the Tyrolean Parliament in 1874 when they opened an agricultural school and research center in the former Augustinian monastery of San Michele in Trentino. They chose renowned Austrian Dr. Edmund Mach to run the center, with a goal of increasing agricultural production. Today the farm consists of 120 hectares of vineyards and apple trees, a distillery, and a wine cellar located in the 12th century Augustinian monastery. This blend of modernity and antiquity creates “an atmosphere suspended between history, where the art of winemaking has been practiced uninterruptedly for almost a thousand years”. In addition to the winery, the farm “promotes and carries out research, scientific experiments, education and training activities technical assistance and extensions services to companies”. The center strives to improve and advance “cultural and socio-economic growth in the agricultural sector”, using a model of sustainable agriculture and “low environmental impact”.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from 2 vineyards; Becchetti, which was planted in 1960, and Oberrauch, planted in 1988. Moscato Rosa is somewhat of a rarity, as there are very few vineyards planted with it, and yields tend to be low. It is not classified as late harvest or passito since the grapes “accumulate unusual concentrations of sugar, resulting in wines with high alcohol and natural residual sugar while retaining excellent levels of mouth-cleansing acidity”.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant red-violet in colour with radiant aromas of rose and red berries. Sweet raspberry and cherry flavours were complimented by candied roses and hints of spicy clove. A vivid acidity and wonderfully dry finish maintain a balance with the sweet notes, making this fantastic with desserts, especially chocolate.
100% Moscato Rosa
Vignetti delle Dolomiti IGT
12.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]

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