January WINE BOX: great reds from Trentino
Led by sommelier Cristina Mercuri
Wine Educator and Consultant
Tenuta San Leonardo , Avio (TN)
We've been talking about it since the 17th century. The estate was first owned by the Church, then was sold to the family of the Marquis Guerrieri Gonzaga who respected and enhanced these splendid 26 hectares in the heart of Vallagarina. Carlo and Anselmo, together with their employees, run the estate organically and with a sustainability system that pays attention not only to respect for the environment, but also to human and energy resources.
The area is particularly suitable: Lake Garda ensures a moderate climate, the Ora wind, which blows from the south in the afternoon, keeps the grapes healthy and dry. Here the bees help natural biodiversity, the green manures of legumes and mustard help the nutritional balance and healthiness of the soil, and the essential citrus oils guarantee the fight against the enemies of the vine.
The wines are produced with minimal intervention: only native yeasts and fermentations in concrete with gentle pumping over to manage the maceration of the company's symbolic vines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot but above all Carmenere, signature of each wine.
All the references, from the most approachable to the super premium San Leonardo - elected the best red wine in Italy - have a vibrant soul, an elegant body and an enviable aging potential.
Villa Corniole , Giovo (TN)
Voice to the family, voice to women! Here Maddalena Nardin runs the cellar with her three daughters, taking care to enhance every single plot with the most suitable grape variety and cultivation system. The company is located in Val di Cembra, with some hectares of vineyards also in Piana Rotaliana, very diversified in terms of altitude and soil. It goes without saying that the morphology of the region, made up of steep slopes and dry stone walls, allows nothing but manual interventions, a lot of dedication, and a lot of love.
The cultivated vines are traditional ones: Teroldego, Marzemino, Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau and Lagrein. Each one is treated with a regime that is as minimally invasive as possible and respect for the land is reciprocated with high quality wines: concentrated, tense, acidic, decisive and crunchy, with unique depth and complexity.
Villa Corniole is often awarded for its Müller Thurgau, the best in Italy.
Pisoni Agricultural Company , Pergolese (TN)
One of the most famous Trentino companies. Why? Because it produces excellently, and in a non-certified biodynamic regime, some of the excellences that have made the region famous throughout the world. Any examples? They are leaders in the production of grappa, which they distil in their cellar in the Valle dei Laghi. They are among the few remaining for the production of the very rare Vino Santo Trentino, a dessert wine produced with Nosiola grapes, dried on racks and aged for over seven years in wood. They are the creators of one of the most admirable crowdfounding projects in the region (“Your vine, Your wine”), which allows you to adopt a Rebo plant, a cross obtained from Teroldego and Merlot.
Their story is genuine and reflects the biodynamic agronomic philosophy, the natural ecosystem is a unique environment and must be seen holistically, aiming to protect its vitality and energy. The wines are healthy, clean, vibrant and structured.
Grigoletti Agricultural Company , Nomi (TN)
There is grandfather in the vineyard, who takes care of the countryside, there is father in the cellar, who follows the winemaking. Then there's the mother in the showroom following the sales and the children studying to take over the reins of the company one day.
You can feel a family atmosphere when you set foot in this small company on the banks of the Adige, in Vallagarina. The company grows native vines, such as Marzemino, but also international ones, such as Merlot and Chardonnay.
Here we really feel at home, because when Carmelo, pouring us a glass of Marzemino, tells us about the sacrifices and passion for his wines he smiles, but he gets the teary eyes of someone who knows what's behind a glass.
Grigoletti wines are very honest. They are the happiest and easiest I have tasted in the Vallagarina sub-area. They are wines that never get boring, because they are juicy, fruity, but light. Their strong point is just like this: a Marzemino to drink alone or in the company of a nice sandwich with speck, for a picnic in the green and sunny valleys of Trentino.
Teroldego is a flagship vine of Trentino, it loves well-draining soils, with a good percentage of clay and chalk, it manages to reach full phenolic maturation precisely because it is found in this splendid region, made up of valleys and hills, therefore benefiting from the altitude , which provides light, temperature range and ventilation.
It has a deep ruby red color with pronounced aromas of crunchy, not overripe red fruit, accompanied by delicately floral notes reminiscent of violet, a typical note of the vine, all gently enriched by a slightly smoky note, given by the ripening, well-integrated wood, which gives complexity and enhances the fruity part. Dry palate, with 13% ABV alcohol which gives a warm and enveloping note, well balanced by high but refreshing acidity, medium-high but very ripe and velvety, slightly granular tannins, which add body and structure to this medium-bodied wine, rightly so vibrant and fully fruit-driven, with a medium but pleasant finish.
Wine to drink now, although it could benefit from one or two years of aging in the bottle.
Pairing: peppers stuffed with meat cooked in the oven. Serve at 16°C.
The most playful and fun of reds, from the typical Vallagarina vine, defined as the gentlest in Trentino for its ability to produce wines with a modest alcohol content and great fruity character.
It has a ruby color with violet reflections, typical of the vine. On the nose it is an explosion of red and black fruit, with a beautiful note of rose and violet, super juicy! On the palate it is round, with a fairly thin body given by the average alcohol at 12.5% ABV and a medium-high acidity, but gentle and refreshing, which underlines its immediate and fun drinking. The tannins are soft and silky, contributing to the juicy taste and fruity finish.
Truly an explosion of fruit, this wine should be drunk today, to enjoy all the freshness and lively, fruity texture.
Pairing: enjoy it with typical cured meats or salted meat, even as a snack! Serve between 14 and 16°C.
Lands, San Leonardo
San Leonardo is the estate that for many years has won the award as the best red wine in Italy. Its biological philosophy is based on the valorization of Trentino as a still uncontaminated territory. Here the breeze of the Ora wind dries the vineyards in the afternoon, limiting interventions in the vineyard to a minimum and leaving room for biodiversity. Terre represents the business card of all this.
In the glass it has a medium ruby colour, a very elegant nose of ripe red fruit and blackberries, a light note of plum and spices given by the artful blending of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and 10% of Carmenere, the estate's signature vine. Equally elegant palate with a certain roundness very well balanced by a marked acidity, which gives freshness and makes us ready for another taste. Medium tannic, with fine and ripe tannins, which contribute to the dense texture and concentration of this wine, with a long and pleasantly fruity finish.
Medium-bodied red wine that leaves ample space for fruit. The barely perceptible wood enhances the juicy notes. A complex but not austere wine, suitable for current consumption, if you want to reward the freshness and crunchiness of the fruit, but capable of improving over time thanks to the concentration and very high acidity: in 3-4 years it will have acquired further complexity and depth.
Pairing: serve it with aubergine parmigiana with speck, or baked pork cheek, at 16-18° C.
Rebo Dolomites, Pisoni
Rebo is a vine created from the cross between Teroldego and Merlot right in the Piana Rotaliana. It is therefore not only the flagship vine of the area, but also of the Pisoni company, which has decided to invest in its diffusion also with the social campaign "Adopt a vine". Anyone who wishes can adopt a plant and take care of it year after year. A charitable project that teaches love for life and nature.
It has a deep ruby color, with a pronounced nose of ripe and dark fruit, small berries and plum, with a light smoky note that adds grace and invites you to sip. Rich, dense, juicy palate: the high alcohol (14% ABV) is absolutely very well integrated and in balance with the acidity, which is high and vibrant and works in tandem with an evident tannin, but velvety and smoothed by the wood. A long and spicy finish, which confirms the full but not austere body of this wine.
A full, rich and dense wine. The wood note is perceived (18 months in barrique), but the style remains guided by an intense, warm, ripe fruit. An alcoholic wine, but well balanced with a taut structure, which makes it approachable now, but suitable for aging.
It will be at its best in 5-6 years.
Pairing: to be tasted together with game, or venison with raspberry compote. It is tasted at 16-18°C.
Teroldego, Villa Corniole
Teroldego is a flagship vine of Trentino, it loves well-draining soils but with a good percentage of clay and chalk, it manages to reach full phenolic maturation precisely because it is found in this splendid region, made up of valleys and hills, therefore benefiting from the altitude , which provides light, temperature range and ventilation. Villa Corniole raises Teroldego vines in Piana Rotaliana and vinifies them in the mountain cellar in Valle di Cembra. In particular, the soil from which these grapes originate is alluvial, carried over from the Noce stream, characterized by great fertility on the surface and excellent underlying drainage, rich in skeleton, following the debris of various kinds brought to the valley by the Noce stream over the course of the millennia.
A deep ruby wine with pronounced aromas of crunchy red fruit (raspberries, cherries...), accompanied by delicately floral notes reminiscent of violets, and herbaceous ones such as dried hay, all gently enriched by a smoky note, given by the wood, well integrated , which gives complexity and enhances the fruity part. Dry palate, with 13% ABV alcohol which gives a warm and enveloping note, well balanced by high but refreshing acidity, medium-high but very ripe and velvety, fine tannins, which add body and structure to this medium-bodied, appropriately vibrant wine and fully driven by the fruit, with a long and slightly spicy finish.
Complex red wine, where the wood note accompanies and enhances a drink guided by the fruit, round texture with evident but delicate tannins, slight smoky and wild herbal notes that give complexity.
Wine to drink now, although it could benefit from one or two years of aging in the bottle.
Pairing: mixed grilled meat. Serve at 18° C.
Villa Gresti, San Leonardo
San Leonardo is the estate that for many years has won the award as the best red wine in Italy. His biological philosophy is based on the discovery of Trentino as a still uncontaminated territory. Here the breeze of the Ora wind dries the vineyards in the afternoon, limiting interventions to a minimum and leaving room for biodiversity. Villa Gresti represents one of the jewels of the estate, and whoever tastes it will not be able to resist wanting to taste the entire range.
Deep ruby red, pronounced nose, of great elegance: notes of dark fruit, such as blackberry and plum, are accompanied by a light note of tobacco, all accompanied by a light toasted note, given by the refinement in first passage barriques for approximately 12 months. The wood not only enhances the fruit, making it warmer and more serious, but helps to polymerize the tannins, which are high, granular, typical of Merlot, but very enveloping and velvety. The 10% Carmenere, signature of the Estate, contributes the spicy note, the dense tannin and the deep texture. The drink remains pleasant thanks to the high and refreshing acidity, leaving room for a long and slightly smoky finish.
A full wine, but which makes elegance and fruit its flagship. A gastronomic but not austere wine, thanks to the refreshing texture.
A full and well-tightened structure highlights a wine that is still young, approachable now, but which will give its best in at least 10 years. A wine to keep in the cellar like a little treasure.
Pairing: try with strangolapreti alla trentina. It should be served at 16-18°C.