Certain wines improve a bon viveur’s posture. On the uplifting effect of Pinot Noir using the example of a dinner party.

By Kurt Höretzeder, Graphic artist, wine lover

Each evening spent in a small circle is characterised by highs and lows: moments of joviality and others when an odd silence envelops the party. And depending on an individual’s state of mind, the guest tries casually, discreetly to experiment with his or her posture: it is amazing how few people nowadays can spend an entire evening sitting upright. –

My back is beginning to feel stiff, so should I place my forearm on the table to (at last) relax it? Support my heavy head on an elbow to unburden the conversation at least of this dead weight? Stretch my legs? – Of course in observing “good” table manners one should do none of these things. åyou find that you have slipped unawares half way beneath the edge of the table. Human nature takes over. All things considered, a congenial sight which is familiar to almost everybody.

But every dinner party company is familiar with the moment when all at once the group sits upright and, almost reverentially, each takes their wine glass in their hand. A moment which can inject new life into a party which has grown dull. – Few wines can work these kinds of wonders. However, there is one wine which definitely can, and that is Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir (called Blauburgunder in South Tyrol) is one of the world’s most fascinating wines. It can only grow in really specific, tucked-away corners of the world and even there top sites are few and far between. The variety is regarded as a prima donna in the vineyard due to its demanding nature: the thin-skinned, tightly packed berries tend to trap moisture, making them susceptible to fungal infections in warm, humid weather, and can harbour pests. This “king of wines” also poses formidable challenges to the winemaker. However, when the grower and winemaker succeed in coaxing Pinot Noir to its fullest expression the result can be stunning. The greatest sites in Burgundy, France produce some of the world’s most expensive wines which include Clos de Vougeot, La Romanée, Les Musigny and La Tâche, all cult vineyards. For Burgundy-lovers these wines are the embodiment of refinement and elegance.

Pinot Noir was first cultivated in South Tyrol in the 1860s. Many wine connoisseurs rate Pinot Noir from South Tyrol as the very finest in all Italy. However, even here only very few sites yield truly fine wines with the brilliant and subtle flavours so prized in top Pinot Noir. The most suitable are located on the mid mountainsides with good air circulation. One such vineyard is the Mazzon site at Kaltern, a medium-altitude terrace with a superb view of the lake. And it is precisely here that the grapes grow which go into the two Manincor Pinot Noirs: the Grand Cru Mason and the selection harvested from old vines, the Mason di Mason. They are now among Italy’s most sought-after Pinot Noirs.

Back to our dinner party. We have straightened up, the glasses are filled and the guests clink glasses – and suddenly dull spirits are revived once again. Hardly any other wine generates as much gaiety as Pinot Noir (it is no coincidence that the wine for celebrating nonpareil, Champagne, also has Pinot Noir among its ingredients). Take for example the Mason: think of its soft red, elegant aromas of cherry and berry fruits (a hint of blackberry, also of raspberry and rose), its silky tannins and long aftertaste – an unashamedly sensuous wine. There is nothing showy about it, unlike many of today’s specious, high-profile red wines. Fine Pinot Noir is not characterised by overblown fruit, aggressive tannins or corpulence. On the contrary, it is one of the world’s most sought-after red wines because its salient characteristics are subtlety and elegance rather than power and opulence. Therein lies its secret. And for this reason it goes so well with dishes which cry out for a subtle accompaniment: veal, delicate game and venison specialities, lamb and medium-piquant cheeses.

Even after the last dishes have been cleared from the table this wine can continue to give pleasure well into the night. And if the guests wish to regain their outward disposition – a glass of Mason di Mason has a lasting effect in helping them recover their poise.

In English the word “attitude” means point of view, posture or body language. In Europe the word has been adopted among artists as a symbol for a meaningful moment in life. – And Pinot Noir is just the right wine to ennoble such moments in an incomparable way.