EXPLORING NEW FRONTIERS
Comets flash by, leave a trail, and burn out. Some last for years, others just a few seconds. They leave an impression and can light a path to guide us in what we do every day. Our Comets are all about the joy of experimenting, a desire to innovate, and getting to know our limits in order to learn from them. Each of our Comets is unique, just like a fingerprint, and the labels on every single bottle have been made by hand: the tail of a comet painted on with a finger.
In Alto Adige, Gewürztraminer is sometimes cultivated on very hot sites. In such conditions the variety often tends to lose its acidity.
If the wine is left in contact with the skins and stems for an extended period, it can enhance the perception of freshness and juiciness. The Gewürztraminer was therefore left on the whole grape for up to eleven months.
We are convinced that in the unique terroir of Valle Isarco, the Müller Thurgau grape variety can fully express its potential for quality and distinctness.
For this wine, we took the maturation on the whole cluster to an extreme and left it in contact with the whole bunches for several months. This raised the question of whether the grape variety’s typical characteristics had been retained. Admittedly, there was a difficult phase during the vinification process, as a musty bacterial note crept in towards the end of fermentation. Luckily this disappeared after 11 months.
Certain things sometimes just need enough time to develop for the better.
Fungus-resistant varieties are just one of many opportunities for us to face up to the challenges of wine growing.
Our attention was specifically drawn to a grape variety that resulted from crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Bronner. In 2017, through a wine-growing partner who planted this variety, we had the opportunity to vinify it and to learn as much as possible about its characteristics. This resulted in two different wines that reflect two opposite poles: SOU · XVII and SOU MA · XVII.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN.
SOU MA · XVII is the second wine produced from our experiment with a grape variety new to us. Unlike SOU · XVII, work focused on maximum phenol extraction.
This required a very laborious vinification process: approximately 80% of the mash, including whole clusters, was stored in a small steel tank and the tannins leached out through an intensive regime of pumping over, pigèage (punch-down) and délestage several times per day, over three weeks. The wine subsequently matured, including the press wine, in a used barrique, for a good one and a half years.
As long as the oxen were in charge of carrying the grapes from the vineyard to the winery, almost every must remained in contact with the skins and stems for several hours. It was not until the ox was replaced by the tractor that the maceration lost its importance. By fermenting the grapes on their skins and stems, we are once again giving the must the time needed to extract key grape components from the skin. As for Comet BLA · BLA, two vintages, namely 2017 and 2018, were blended, resulting in
BLA · BLA 2.
LET'S TRY AGAIN.
What most characterizes this grape variety, rather atypical for Alto Adige, is its semi-aromatic component.
This led us to ask ourselves what potential this grape variety could develop in Alto Adige, bottling it as an unfiltered and sulphated wine.
The idea behind this Comet was a reinterpretation of the variety Moscato Giallo – an experiment which for us was to gain an understanding of a vinification method that was new to us but which has actually been around for a long time. We hope to reveal further potential in this grape variety. We therefore attempted a Pétillant Naturel (Pét Nat).
The must fermented on the whole grape (stems and skins) and was bottled at the end of fermentation. Fermentation ended with a pressure of approximately 4 bar in the sparkling wine bottle. This method permitted natural preservation, without sulphurisation.
CHAOS. MOVEMENT. FORM.
Form ultimately grows out of chaos through movement, according to artist Joseph Beuys.
Twentyfive years ago Rainer Zierock, a close family friend, gathered grape varieties from all over the world and, together with Alois Lageder, planted them in the vineyards as a field blend. Some varieties are still unripe at harvest time, and have impressively high acidity levels and little sugar. Others, on the other hand, are overripe, with mature aromas and lots of sugar. Yet others are perfectly physiologically mature. The balance that the individual components contribute is astounding.
It is the chaos that is converted into form that excites us. As a form-giving process, fermentation unites these different states and creates a complex whole.
BE BOLD AND THINK AHEAD.
Already thirty years ago, due to the changing climate, we tried to cultivate different grape varieties, hoping that they would thrive well in Alto Adige. Among these, Tannat proved to be one of the most promising.
Even in difficult years the variety matures physiologically well and is characterised by crisp acidity and moderate alcohol content. Unlike its predecessors TAN · XIII and TAN SAI · XVI, the TAN · XV Comet is fuller in style. Contrary to our usual approach, we placed this wine in a small, completely new barrique. As it is so often the case, we learn the most from extremes.
GIVE IT A CHANCE.
Nature requires us to adapt to it and take risks, but also admit that we sometimes aim too high.
When we began to read and learn more about climate change 30 years ago, we started planting grape varieties that were not native to the region, just to see how they would develop over time. One of them was Syrah. Many years the variety seemed to be unsuited to our terroir and therefore we have almost completely removed it from our vineyards.
However, in the last couple of years it surprised us with good results. Today we are questioning ourselves again, whether we should give the variety another chance in the future.