If you have ever been in Trentino, you can easily picture in your mind what I am about to describe, if not, close your eyes and try to imagine: beautiful Dolomites mountains, sweet and green rolling hills sprinkled of cows, small rivers, apple trees, little villages with the church towers shaped like pencils, wood farms with pointed roofs… It’s one of my version of heaven, even because on top of the cake you can taste really good wines produced by passionate winemakers.
“We are vignaioli (Italian word that means both viticulturist and winemaker, something close to vigneron in French, but including the concept of producing wine), we are proud of being artisan of our land”: this is the philosophy of the association of the local winemakers “Vignaioli del Trentino” that counts more than sixty producers, spread on 500 hectares of territory (Trento, Lavis – Pressano – Sorni – Faedo hills, Piana Rotaliana, Vallagarina, Valle dei Laghi, Val di Cembra, Val di Non, Valsugana, Val Rendena). I met them at Vinitaly 2016: the aim of the association is to mark a difference between who produces wine in a more industrial way (buying grapes from elsewhere, for example) and who is a Vignaiolo, who is deeply rooted in a territory, who cultivate the vines and is proudly part of a tradition. “Our goal is high quality and terroir driven wines – explains Lorenzo Cesconi, president of the association and winemaker – , we like to keep in mind four key words that lead our wine philosophy: the first is artisan (the whole production process happens within the winery, from grapes to bottles), the second is territory (maximum respect of traditions and of our land), the third is quality (less is more!), and last but not least sustainability (our land needs to be preserved and clean)”. Only the wineries who respond to this criteria can be part of the Vignaioli del Trentino association, that is part of the national association FIVI (Federazione Italiana dei Vignaioli Indipendenti).
With this in mind you would expect to try some great wines and you are not going to be disappointed! Indigenous varieties here can reach their best expression. I started with a Nosiola, the only white variety native of Trentino, I tasted Cesconi Nosiola made from vineyards planted at 500 mt of altitude, western exposure and loose soil set in an alluvial fan of deep dolomite rock. The vilification process is something not so common: part of the harvest is destemmed and macerated (without being pressed) for 4-5 days, until the cap is formed. Then the juice obtain by the gentle pressing of the other part of the harvest is added and fermentation takes place. This process preserves the delicate bouquet of Nosiola grape. With the same purpose Cesconi chooses large acacia barrels and stainless steel to complete the fermentation and 9 months on the lees before bottling. This wine has a wonderful nose: white flowers, daisies, delicate almond blossom, white peaches, Meyer lemons. At the taste the sapidity of the soil comes out: wet rocks, a light hint of fossils and seashells given by a unique kind of soil called “arenaria del Werfen”. If you like reds you have more delightful options: Teroldego (I tasted the Barone de Cles, lovely, vibrant, fruity), Lagrein (I chose Zanotelli, ripe red berries, elegant tannins, harmonious and well balanced) and Schiava.