MW Trip to Trento DOC

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Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW

 

On November 10, 12 Masters of Wine from eight different countries met up in Italy to discover the sparkling wines of Trentino, known as Trento DOC.

The history of sparkling wine in Trentino is credited to Giulio Ferrari a native of region who attended the Instituto Agrario at San Michele all’Adige from 1895-1897. Ferrari continued his studies in both Germany and France spending time in Champagne. He decided to return to Trentino and produce sparkling wines in the same style, using the metodo classic (traditional method). In 1902, the winery was opened and 3000 bottles of sparkling wine produced. The high quality of these wines was recognised in 1906, when Ferrari won a gold medal the International Exposition in Milan. In 1952, Ferrari sold the winery to the Lunelli family who still own the company today.

There is one DOC for sparkling wine called Trento DOC (still wines from the region are classified as Trentino DOC). All Trento DOC is made by the traditional method and is classified as either Non-vintage (15months), Vintage (Millesimato- 24months) or Riserva (extra maturation, 36months). In all cases, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Meunier are allowed alone or together in any amount. Trento DOC Rosé or Bianco can be made as a Non-vintage, Millesimato or Riserva.

Although Trentino is large region with 10,000ha of vines, grapes for the production of Trento DOC are sourced from less 8% of the region’s vineyards. The area has a warm, continental climate, influenced by breezes from Lago di Garda to the west and cool wind from the northern alps. Over 60% of the vineyards are located at higher elevations in the mountains and foothills with average being 600metres a significant difference when comparing this region to Franciacorta.

Chardonnay is the dominant variety, occupying 29% of total plantings, the largest in Italy. Second is Pinot Nero, which accounts for less than 5% of total plantings, used mainly for colour and structure for Rosé and Riserva. Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) accounts for less than 1% of plantings and is used in small amounts with Chardonnay. Pinot Meunier is rarely used, but gaining interest.

There are 45 producers of Trento DOC one third of which are Cantina’s (co-operatives). Around 10 million bottles are produced annually. It is the top selling sparkling wine within Italy with over 85% sold domestically and 15% exported. As we tasted first hand, Trento DOC’s quality reputation, ability to age, combined reasonable price points have contributed to recent increases in export volume.

As the norm with MW trips, our itinerary was jammed packed with tastings, technical lectures, winery visits and wine-pairing meals at Michelin-starred restaurants. Included was:

  • Lecture of Cavit’s PICA project (Integrated Agricultural Platform)
  • Private tasting of a selection of 115 wines from Trento DOC’s 45 producers
  • An escorted tour of the high-altitude vineyards of the Cembra Valley by Professor Tomas Roman
  • Seminar by Professor Fulvio Mattivi about the Mapping of Volatile Compounds found in the high-altitude wines of Trento DOC
  • Tasting of old Trento DOC vintages from various producers as far back as 1993
  • A vineyard visit to understand organic viticulture for Trento DOC
  • A tasting to understanding the role of yeasts in the second fermentation
  • Tasting of base wines and different vintages, styles at various wineries included Cavit, Cesarini Sforza, Opera Winery, Maso Martis, Methius, Rotari and Ferrari
  • Private tour of MUSE the new museum designed by architect Renzo Piano
  • Private Dinner in MUSE with two producers, San Lorenzo (highly awarded red wines from Trentino) and Ferrari
  • Wine pairing meals at Maso Franch, Le Due Spade and Locanda Margon

Extensive detail about the lectures, visits and tasting can be found within the trip report, to be published soon.

Our visit was a resounding success due to the planning and attention to detail from the Instituto Trento DOC, a Supporter of the IMW.

The IMW and trip participants would like to thank Sabrina Schench, Manager Instituto Trento DOC and Enrico Zanoni President, the Foundazione Mach as well as all the producers for their generosity, time and for sharing their wines and knowledge.

Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW

24 November 2016