The Tasting Panel magazine

January/February 2015

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46  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2015 MEET THE WINEMAKER From North and South WINEMAKER LUCIO MATRICARDI MAKES AUTHENTICALLY ITALIAN WINES AT MEZZACORONA AND STEMMARI by Elizabeth Kate Tasting Notes Highlights of the tasting included the Mezzacorona 2007 "NOS" Teroldego Riserva Rotaliano DOC ($30), a rich, smoky red with notes of dried black cherries, leather and vanilla on the palate, with firm, velvety tannins and a long elegant finish. Also noteworthy was the lovely floral Stemmari "Baci Vivaci" ($18). Baci Vivaci means "dancing bubbles" and is a non-vintage sparkling Grillo, a native Sicilian grape, with a gentle frizzante sparkle. Light and engaging with aromas of acacia and fresh peaches and a nice minerality on the palate. Delicious! R ecently Lucio Matricardi, Head Winemaker for two of Italy's leading sustain- able wineries, Mezzacorona and Stemmari, was in Los Angeles to talk about his wines and the sustainability practices of his wineries. It is the 110-year anniversary of Mezzacorona wines, and Matricardi has much to celebrate. Mezzacorona and Stemmari inhabit two vastly different landscapes: Mezzacorona is located in the north, in the heart of Italy's mountainous Dolomites range, while Stemmari is found due south on the sun-kissed island of Sicily. The two locales have little in common except the binding passion of Lucio Matricardi, who has created top-notch wineries that both respect the land and the people of each region. The ebullient Matricardi arrived slightly late for his own event, explaining with a friendly wink that he "wanted us to be sure he was an authentic Italian!" There was no confusion there. Matricardi brings the joy and passion of all that is Italian to the table. Matricardi lives most of the year in the Dolomites, where he works with Mezzacorona, but he travels south to Sicily for several months each year to oversee production of Stemmari wines. Matricardi is not a man who follows fashion blindly. While other winemakers pulled up native vines to make way for the ever-popular Chardonnay, Matricardi stood strong. "I plant the native varieties because that is what grows best on this land. Some wines are like orphans," Matricardi explains. "They could be from anywhere!" Matricardi strives to make wines that proudly show off their heritage and accurately reflect their provenance. Matricardi opines, "Everyone says they are 'sustainable' these days. The word is a little bit abused." Matricardi believes sustainability should extend to all parts of the vines and wines and to the winery itself. Mezzacorona and Stemmari prac- tice sustainability through careful waste and water management and use of solar panels for energy and light. Sustainability extends from the land to the wines to the people. The care and creation of the wines literally starts from the ground up. Under Lucio Matricardi's watchful eye, Mezzacorona and Stemmari have become true custodians of the land while producing fine wines representing the best of each unique terroir. Mezzacorona and Stemmari are imported by Prestige Wine Imports. Lucio Matricardi is Head Winemaker for Mezzacorona and Stemmari. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEMMARI

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