André’s son Arthur has joined his father and grandfather at their domaine in northern Alsace, three generations now working side by side. Much as his father did with him, André has given Arthur a lot of freedom to experiment in the cellar. After returning from planting new Pinot Gris vines in Muenchberg, Arthur joined André and me in Epfig to finish tasting their 2016s and presented me with a dry, skin-macerated Gewurtztraminer that he had made. One of his other initiatives has been to add more stems to their younger-release Pinot Noir to give it a bit more structure. Mission accomplished.
It may not be from Burgundy, but it was inspired by it. Our friends at Duline studied their incredible terroir at Ronco Pitotti for years and experimented for many vintages before they were finally ready to release their first Pinot Nero. The resulting wine is nothing short of brilliant and definitely a contender for Italy’s best example, to my palate. Its secret weapon is the soil of ponca (in the local dialect)—a flaky, layered limestone/sandstone rich in minerals—on which the grape is grown. Medium robe, aromatic complexity, elegance, length, silky tannin, and stunning flavor are all on display.
We introduced the 2013 vintage earlier this year, and it was a huge hit. Planted high on a limestone cliff in Sudtirol, Mazzon channels both Austrian and Italian influences. Grown and vinified by the talented father-daughter team of Ferruccio and Michela Carlotto, this wine shows the delicate and refined side of the grape—the side I love and the hardest one to tease out. Aged extensively in large cask, barrel, and bottle, it is released when ready to drink. But, as old vintages attest, Mazzon only improves with age.