The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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In 1904, 20 vintners making wine in the Austrian prov- ince of Südtirol decided to combine the production of their small individual plots, located in the mountains just north of Lake Garda, into one company that today is called Mezzacorona. There and elsewhere, there was an air of excitement throughout Europe as the new 20th century was getting underway. A few miles away across the border in Italy, the composer Puccini's Madama Butterfly was making its debut in Milan. In czarist Moscow, Chekhov's new play, The Cherry Orchard, had just gone on stage. Yet, before Mezzacorona was a mere 15 years old, this tranquil world had fallen apart. The Russian Revolution had overthrown the Czarist regime in 1905, and, for almost five torturous years, Europe was devastated by the First World War. And by 1919, Mezzacorona's winegrowers were no longer citizens of Austria. They were now wine produc- ers in the new Italian province of Trentino. "If our members had not been united then and remained united in the years since, we would not have survived," says Fabio Maccari, Director General of Gruppo Mezzacorona. But survive they have—flourished, in fact. With 1,600 wine- grower families farming more than 6,400 acres of vineyards, Mezzacorona is today the largest producer of estate-grown wines in Italy and its fifth largest wine producer overall. And, as Maccari points out, some of Mezzacorona's current officers are direct descendants of those first 20 vintners. Modern Mezzacorona As it did in 1904, 112 years later Mezzacorona continues to pride itself on being a "consumer aware" local family grower company that is successful both at home and around the world. "We are strong in Italy, but we are also strong abroad," Maccari says. "In fact, we export 80 percent of the bottles we produce." Indeed, Mezzacorona has sales in 60 countries and is emphasizing growth plans in those countries such as China which have "entered into wine consumption" only in recent years. In the United States, Mezzacorona, which does its own importing through its Prestige Wine Imports Corporation, has an impressive portfolio of seven brands, all of them estate-produced. Central to the portfolio are its varietal wines—each a premium wine, value-priced at $9.99 and above—which includes a Rosé from Lagrein. These are topped by the very popular Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio and also include a Moscato and a Pinot Noir in addition to other international varietals. More recently, two wines from the new super-premium Mezzacorona "Cliffhanger" line have been added: a Pinot Grigio and a Proprietary Red Blend (both $13.99). Finally, Mezzacorona offers a super-premium riserva: the Teroldego Rotaliano NOS ($30). august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  61 FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN ITALY, MEZZACORONA MEETS THE CHALLENGES OF A CHANGING WORLD by Roger Morris

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