Negociants Australia Working with Wine Seminars (WWW) bring forward some great discussion.
As the Prosecco juggernaut pushes on presenter Nicolas Belfrage MW described the delisting of the grape variety “prosecco” to being its ancient name-glera.
And now the sparkling wine style is a wine name – assuming a branding presence similar to Champagne, and that the wine is made from a prosecco grape is mere coincidence.
The wine poured was La Riva Dei Frati NV, a producer making only 80,000 bottles annually, but good value at AUD $24 (USD $22), as this is acceptable wine.
The nose has candy and musk, more fruit aromatics than base wine complexity, little lees influence either, and a plain sailing palate, with sweetness at 10 g/L for the Australian export market.
Belfrage noted that normal markets are sweetened at 18-22 g/L which would undoubtedly be the case in the U.S. where this product has taken off really well.
Further north in the Alto (high) Adige region where dual German/Italian emerges on bottle labels we experience the wines of Tiefenbrunner, but not from Christof Tiefenbrunner who was held up by the Icelandic volcano ash debacle for international travel.
The clear message on the Alto Adige is the out-of-vogue insipid red variety schiava grape which nobody wishes to buy and the second half of the story is the high interest in cold climate, higher acid whites now in northern Italy. The pale, unwooded varieties are now seen as an item of culture.
“The opposite follows further south where Romans still “continue to drink anything, even if its yellow or oxidised” without that element of discernment found in the north,” Belfrage comments.
The wine of interest is Tiefenbrunner’s Pinot Bianco 2009, lean, apple green, with a coil of savoury acidity and freshness from its stainless steel beginning; AUD $22 (USD $20).
I learnt that these wines have great aging spans, as much as 40 years. That probably accounts now for Chandon California’s original choice of pinot blanc as a founding variety for the sparkling base trio alongside chardonnay and pinot noir in Carneros. Such is the aging backbone of white pinot.
A similar entity is Hunter Valley semillon; made with austerity but a wine which ages delightfully.
Tiefenbrunner were an early adapter of screw cap, a choice which has made these racey, fruit-pure wines so well recognised internationally. Taint and oxidation-free.
After all, who would wish to keep a pinot bianco for 40 years if it was closed under a tainted cork on day one, and cellared for decades as a dead cause.
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