Riserva Mazon, 2008, Pinot Nero, Blauburgunder, J. Hofstätter, red wine from Alto Adige, Italy

5 points

In 2005, fortunately, we had a business meeting in Venice: an enchanting place for business, but even captivating for good food and wine. As long as you don’t have to pay for it ……

For dinner we went to a rather medium place because we didn’t want to spend too much money (Venice is really overly expensive). We found a very nice location. The wine menu was full of wines from area around Venice, Piedmont, Friuli and of course Toscana. One of the “cheapest” wines – today we would say “affordable” – was a Pinot Nero of the Südtirol winemaker Josef Hofstätter. I ordered it – and much to my surprise, the waiter really appreciated this choice. Obviously, not many costumers would have had the idea to order a wine of the “German” part of Italy – and I would love to know how this marvelous wine ended up on this menu. 2005 was about the time that I started to have both more money and more interest in wine – and for me this Pinot Nero was an amazing discovery. You can buy it directly from them via Internet or phone, But the best you can do is to drive there to enjoy this beautiful piece of earth among huge alpine mountains, apple tree groves and rows and rows of grape vines: Tramin.

The grapes grow on the high plateau of Mazon (between 500 and 800 m above sea level) above the Etsch valley, which is perhaps one of the widest valleys of the Südtirol – ca 25 km south of Bolzano. It is filigree as a good Pinot Noir should be. But it is unconventional as well, as it is maybe the “richest” Pinot Noir I know in regard to tenderness, courteous fruitiness and concinnity. After the bottlle has been open for a few houWP_20150224_004rs, I doubt that anyone would immediately recognize the origin of this wine, as it doesn’t taste like some Blauburgunder of alpine high lands.

But seriously: if you take a fantastic Spätburgunder from German Ahrtal or classic Pinot Noir from Burgundy this would be a different experience with almost the same grape. Riserva Mazon does not compete against this flavor and in particular tradition probably. This wine has its own hand-writing.

In my opinion, this wine is nothing – if you drink it too young. The wine – according to the beautiful and informative webpage of Hofstätter (http://www.hofstatter.com/en/wines/red-wines/riserva-mazon-pinot-noir.html) – matures for one year in small oak cask and another six months in traditional oak barrels. I can insure that it is a good decision to put this wine for some years into the cellar. For this report I opened a 2008 and it is perfect! Just impressive!

I appreciate winemakers if they connect their wine with a local identity. Whenever you  have the chance to travel to Tramin, the village where Hofstätter has his home, you may understand even better why I recommend this wine so highly. The variety, the quality, but also the natural abundance of Alto Adige finds its perfect reflection in all wines of Hofstätter. As delicious his wines are as beautiful but also indigenous is this Reserva!

In recent years it has become much easier to find Hofstätter. In 2005 it was still known only to a very limited circle of people, so it seems to me that the marketing and sales division of Hofstätter were able to expand the markets since then. Aside from the reds there is in particular the Gewürztraminer which you even can order in numerous restaurants in NY or even Hong Kong.