The SOMM Journal

August / September 2016

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Page 40 of 148

40 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016 B-----------------------------------------------------------� { somm journal seminar series } ITALY: Alto Adige and Chianti Classico The first of two wines, presented by Vittorio Marzotto, representing his fam- ily's Santa Margherita USA division, was the Kettmeir 2014 Müller Thurgau, Alto Adige, Italy ($20). Marzotto wanted to showcase a variety specifically developed to compensate for the shorter growing season in high-altitude and -latitude regions like Alto Adige. Müller Thurgau marries the aro - matics and acidity of Riesling with the earlier ripening characteristic of Silvaner ; but, he explained, earlier ripening can result in underdeveloped aromatics. So, unlike normal white wine fermentation, which immediately separates juice from skins, Alto Adige grapes often undergo nitrogen submersion for a couple of hours to tease out the aromatics. Still, "it's always about the land," said Marzotto, responding to Marks' question about human intervention with respect to terroir. "The winemaker's job," he said, "is to preserve what's in the vineyards." As an example, he described the "deferred fermentation" employed at his family's Lamole estate in Chianti Classico to tame Sangiovese's tannins. "First, it's important that we identified two Sangiovese clones well-suited to the soils and altitude of Lamole's vineyards. In the win - ery, deferred fermentation requires separating the juice from the skins, then allowing it to ferment separately to six percent alcohol. Afterward, the partially fermented juice is reunited with the skins." Such vineyard and winemaking care showed undeniably in the smooth richness of Lamole di Lamole 2011 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione "Vigneto Campolungo" ($35), which also shows impeccable spiciness with sweet tobacco notes. Vittorio Marzotto, family member of importer Santa Margherita USA. FRANCE: Alsace The Hugel family, vignerons in Alsace since 1639, would agree that terroir has everything to do with the land. "Grand Cru vineyard expansions haven't set well with traditionalists like the Hugels," said Web Bond of Frederick Wildman and Sons, the U.S. importer for Famille Hugel. "If it wasn't land worthy of a Grand Cru before, they believe it's not worthy now." Tasting the Famille Hugel 2009 Riesling Jubilee, Alsace ($60), from various family-owned Grand Cru vineyards, Marks noted its complexity and youthfulness. "It's hard to believe this is a 2009," he said, which is the cur - rent release as of this printing. "The huge diurnal shifts in temperature give the acidity needed for aging," explained Web. "As for the complexity, chalk that up to Alsace's incredible soil diversity and requisite dry farming, which equates to smaller berries and more intense flavors." Further complexity is derived from natural yeast fermentation, Web noted. Natural yeast's role in the terroir debate—the "yays" vs. the "nays"—elic - ited opposing views from some of the panelists. On one side, the Boisset family, whose Burgundy vineyards are farmed biodynamicaly, encourages yeasts in the winery. Nicole Hitchcock, Winemaker, J Vineyards & Winery, also said she tries to use indigenous yeasts as much as possible, but Stephen Reustle, owner of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards in Umpqua Valley, Oregon, sided definitively with the nays. Web Bond of Frederick Wildman and Sons

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