The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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62  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2017 COVER STORY A good example of how Lucio and the team work together to produce unique wines in the marketplace are the Rotari sparkling wines, made at Rotari's state-of-the-art winery in Trentino in Italy's Dolomite Mountains and carrying the Trentodoc appellation. Rather than follow the globally successful formula of Prosecco, Rotari uses higher-quality grapes along with metodo classico process, exceeding the Trentodoc standards, and introduced vintage statements last year. On top of that, each winemaker prepares their own blend and all the blends are then tasted blind among the winemaking team. Just to be sure, the winemaking team frequently blind tastes top Champagne producers to benchmark the progress of the Rotari sparkling wines in the marketplace. Lucio and the team tackled another challenge recently with the creation of Mezza di Mezzacorona, a serious but affordable Charmat-style sparkling wine made at the large Trentino facility. Mezza di Mezzacorona is the unique entry in a new proprietary category: Italian Glacial Bubbly. The process took nearly four years, but it showed what a team can accomplish. The initial thinking was that a 100 percent Chardonnay-based wine would produce the best sparkling wine. The team disagreed, finding the 100 percent Chardonnay-based sparkler too neutral and lacking acidity. Other grapes were needed for the blend to address those challenges. Three years later they would find the solution. Mezza di Mezzacorona became a unique blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Müller Thurgau that was further enhanced by sur lie aging and lower residual sugar. Although Pinot Blanc and Müller Thurgau are not common components of Charmat-sparkling wines, both are indigenous to the Dolomiti region. The first step of the winemaking team is to strategize the style of wine they are trying to produce. Then each lot is tested and scored by the team to evaluate which wine gets closest to the desired style. If that lot is questioned by one of the winemakers, they have to indicate what is wrong and how Gruppo Mezzacorona Winemakers Matteo Covazzi, Fabio Toscana, Lucio Matricardi and Andrea Martinelli. Stemmari wines are cultivated in estate vineyards along the ventilated southern coast of the island. The wines carry a Sicilia DOC appellation. What Lucio is most proud of is the "family" feeling among not just the winemaking team but everyone included in the production process

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