reviewed by Ian D'Agata - December 2018
Bright pale golden-tinged straw. Very intense aromas of botanical herbs, honey and ripe white and yellow fruit. Then multilayered and dense, with juicy flavors similar to the aromas. Finishes creamy and very long. A knockout wine of impeccable balance and noteworthy salinity. There’s a hint of aromatic nuance on the back end which offers a ton of flavor and only 13.5% alcohol. This vintage of Sirmian offers above average complexity, possibly the result of the grape’s very long hang time, as the harvest was one of the latest in memory (they finished picking the Sirmian on October 26; it had never been so late before).
BARONESSE Passito Baron Salvadori 2014 | 94
Bright golden yellow. Passion fruit, orange oil, grapefruit and sweet spices. Marvelously well balanced with precise flavors of tropical fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg that are luscious and broad. The lively harmonious acidity provides lovely lift, clarity and cut on the long luscious and sweet finish. Strikes me as one of the more elegant Baronesse wines ever made. 100% Moscato Giallo from a vineyard planted on highly calcareous, highly draining soils where the Moscato Giallo ripens very slowly, allowing the grapes the benefit of long hang time. Once picked, the coop then air-dries the grapes on straw mats for about 4.5 months; fermentation lasts about six months in small oak barrels. Only 3,000 half bottles made.
PUNGGL Pinot Grigio 2016 | 93
Bright golden yellow. Complex aromas of peach and tropical fruit complemented by sweet spices and wet minerals. Rich, dense and juicy, with spicy orchard fruit flavors and a long creamy finish. Large-scaled and powerful but this knockout Pinot Grigio actually tastes graceful and balanced. Made from 80-year-old pergola-trained vines in Magrè (Margreid, in German) planted on deep grey clay soil. Punggl means “small hill”. About 35,000 bottles made a year.
PUNGGL Pinot Grigio 2017 | 92+
Luminous golden-tinged yellow. Herbal and yeasty aromas dominate fresh citrus and pomaceous orchard fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Ripe and round but lively, with very good depth and lingering savory presence on the suave finish. A serious, refined Pinot Grigio.
SIRMIAN Pinot Bianco 2017 | 92+
Bright pale straw gold. Peach and herbs on the closed nose. Then bright and dense, with a brooding quality to the allspice and pit fruit flavors. Finishes with a whiplash of dusty minerality and notes of thyme and bay leaf. Sneaky concentration here, not to mention impressive length and size.
PENON Pinot Bianco 2017 | 92
Straw green. Delightful aromas and flavors of green apple, white peach, pear, jasmine, and minerals. Brightly fruity and soft in the mouth, but with lively acidity providing energy and focus. This juicy, delicious white makes it hard to put the glass back down once you’ve taken the first sip. A lovely Pinot Bianco bursting with soft fruit at the seams.
MANTELESauvignon 2017 | 92
Bright straw-gold. Intense aromas of green fig, candied melon, sage and tomato leaf, with a mineral topnote. Rich and dense with a juicy quality to the ripe flavors of citrus fruit and herbs. Finishes long and tactile. A lovely, deep and flavorful Sauvignon Blanc that hides its 14% alcohol well.
MANTELE Sauvignon 2016 | 92
Bright pale golden color. Passionfruit, flint and minty herbs on the precise, perfumed nose. Clean, fresh and savory flavors of green fig, sage and orchard fruit. Finishes long and vibrant with a hint of peppery spices. Improves with aeration so I’d decant thirty minutes ahead. This big large-scaled Sauvignon Blanc is aged 100% in used large oak barrels, but could easily pass for having been aged in stainless steel only.
PITZON Riesling 2016 | 92
Bright straw-green. Penetrating aromas and flavors of green apple, nectarine, and lime complicated by lemony botrytis. Juicy, spicy and very floral in the mouth with lively acidity and precision. Finishes long with delicate diesel fuel and crystallized mango nuances. About 10-20% of the grapes were hit by noble rot; this knockout Italian Riesling boasts impeccable balance. The Nals Margreid coop farms 0.5 hectares of Riesling planted at about 500 meters above sea level, just below the vines of Sirmian Pinot Bianco. The plot of Riesling was planted in 2005 by Schwanburg but when that coop closed, Nals Margreid took over in 2007, and began working with fruit from Pitzon. This is the best Riesling Pitzon ever made by Nals Margreid (the 2014 is also very noteworthy). Unfortunately, there are only 3,000 bottles of Pitzon made each year.
LYRA Gewürztraminer 2016 | 92
Bright deep golden yellow. Ripe tropical fruit, vanilla, and sweet spices on the enticing nose. Then tart and lively, but with a luscious mouthfeel to the ripe tropical fruit and sweet spice flavors. Tastes rather elegant and well-balanced. The finish is long and ripe. Made from roughly 35-year-old pergola-trained vines and 17 year old Guyot-trained vines all planted around Söll near Tramin at about 450 meters above sea level. The soils are rich in calcareous red clay (rich in iron); Gewürz likes iron-containing soils, partly explaining this wine’s rich, in your face personality. This is a single vineyard wine: the name Lyra refers to a specific site that has always gone by this name.
GALEA Schiava 2016 | 92
Bright pale red. Saline, perfumed aromas and flavors of red fruit and herbs, with hints of flint. The finish is very saline and characterized by Pinot Noir-like nuances. Fermented 6-7 days in cement on the skins and then aged in 80-90HL old oak. Made from ungrafted 100 year old Schiava Piccola (from where the modern day Schiava Piccola clones 40 and 59 vines were selected), grown near Bolzano in the Santa Maddalena area, a true grand cru for Schiava. The 2016 vintage proved to be an extremely great one for Schiava, as the grapes were picked on October 2-7, in a late harvested, air-dried state.
PENON Pinot Bianco 2016 | 91
Bright golden-tinged yellow color. Captivating nose of white flowers, white stone fruit and botanical herbs. Dense, fresh and clean, with lovely precision and lift to the flavors of stone fruit and herbs. Long and piercing on the very saline finish. Like its more famous stablemate, the Pinot Bianco Sirmian, the Penon is a fresh, crisp white that is also slightly lower in alcohol than other whites from Nals Margreid.
MAGRÈChardonnay 2017 | 91
Bright straw. Unripe pineapple, nectarine and white flowers on the lively nose. Then juicy and energetic in the mouth too, with fresh flavors of orchard fruit and banana dominating. Medium-bodied and fresh, long and succulent; and actually not bad, given how poor (by world standards) the majority of Italian Chardonnays are.
MAGRÈChardonnay 2016 | 90
Bright golden-yellow. Very pure clean aromas of fresh orchard fruit and sweet spices. Dense juicy and bright, with insidious sweetness to the rich yellow fruit and spicy flavors. Finishes long with hints of butter and botanical herbs. A lovely Magrè, a real rarity in Italy where most Chardonnays are exceptionally poor, at least by world standards. Ages in 70% stainless steel (spends 5 months on the yeasts) and 30% in 30HL barrels. Magrè is a very warm site, so Chardonnay ripens very well here; the forty-fifty year old vines are mostly pergola (canopy) trained. This is the third vintage of this wine made thus far.
CHARDONNAY Riserva Baron Salvadori 2014| 90
Vivid dark golden yellow. Dense rich oak-tinged flavors of apple and pear, with hints of tropical fruits and an enticing flinty nuance. Finishes long and savory with a whiplash of salinity, spices and lime. Aged in tonneaux (10% new) for 10 months, then six months in stainless steel and one year in bottle.