Mezzacorona vineyards tended ‘like a kitchen garden’, says winemaker
Italian producer Mezzacorona takes care of its vines just like a gardener nurtures a herb garden in order to amplify the natural aromas of chamomile that are so typical of Pinot Grigio from Trentino.
Founded in 1904, Mezzacorona in Trentino in Northern Italy, has grown to become one of the most successful wine cooperatives in the country with just over 2,800 hectares of vineyards owned by its 1,500 growers. Its cellars produce an impressive range of wines, both still and sparkling, but production in the vineyards is on a much smaller scale with the average holding of just 1.5ha. According to Mezzacorona’s winemaker Maurizio Maurizi, the growers tend their vines like they would a kitchen garden.
If there is one grape that Mezzacorona really excels in it is Pinot Grigio which was first planted here just after the War, and whose vineyards now extend to 1,100ha. Maurizio believes the local terroir was made for this variety.
“First of all, I think it’s the climate,” he says. “We cultivate Pinot Grigio on the narrow valley floor between sheer rocks on either side. During the days there’s a lot of sunlight, and it gets reflected from the rocks, but during the night, cold air blows from the Alps, so you get a big shift in temperature.”
This helps maintain the grape’s acidity over its long, slow growing season and boosts its aromas of chamomile that are typical of Trentino Pinot Grigio claims Maurizio.
To preserve these qualities, the bunches are hand-picked and then swiftly taken to Mezzacorona where they are chilled down to 15C˚ and then crushed without any need of filtration to remove colouring from the skins. Sometimes the grapes are given a brief maceration to produce wines like Fildirose Pinot Grigio Rosé that was launched last year, and which spent 8-10 hours on the skins before a light pressing to limit the extraction of tannin.
Fildirose is part of Mezzacorona’s Castel Firmian range for the on-trade which includes a Pinot Grigio Riserva from specially selected vineyards near the winery, whose grapes are 60% fermented in oak barriques and the rest in stainless steel tanks.
“Fermentation in barrel helps oxygenate the wine, and this gives you Pinot Grigio that is a bit stronger and more concentrated,” Maurizio explains.
The winery’s latest Pinot Grigio, launched at this year’s VinItaly, is Domenica Trentino DOC, the grapes for which are “given a couple of hours maceration to add a bit more structure,” says Maurizio. “Domenica has ripe aromas of stone fruits, and a slightly bigger body.” Like all the wines produced by Mezzacorona it is fully sustainable with SQNPI certification.
Mezzacarona’s growers work hard to preserve the specificity of different wine-growing zones in the Trento area and to maintain organic and fertile soils. They do not use genetically modified vines and nourish the soil only with organic matter, never chemicals, and strive to preserve hedgerows and dry-stone walls which are home to many important species in the local ecosystem.