Hand work

Hand work.

News from the cellar and vineyards. A review of the winegrowing season 2007–2008.

By Helmuth Zozin, director of the Manincor wine estate

The 2007-2008 winter was once again extremely mild and in mid March the growing season promised to begin early, similar to 2007. Thereafter, however, the spring turned wet and cool and this slowed down the vegetation considerably. May and June were wet with tropical warmth.

This was the main factor leading to heavy attacks of downy mildew. Our nerves were almost at breaking point but still we stuck consistently to our policy of fortifying the vine’s immune system and succeeded, using biodynamic preparations and teas, especially common horsetail and camomile. Diseases appeared but in the end all our vines recovered well and yielded ripe and intensely-flavoured grapes. Although quantities were down, this was more than compensated for by the excellent quality.

Our best white wine sites in Terlan were hit by heavy hail in late June. As this damage (50 % and more) occurred relatively early on in the season the the vines had plenty of time to recover. The rainy, tropical-like weather continued through July and into the first half of August after which the weather stabilised and from early September the autumn gave way to an Indian summer.

The Pinot Blanc harvest began at Terlan on 16th September and the last grapes in the Manincor estate were picked on 24th October. A harvest lasting six weeks to obtain 200,000 kilos of grapes and almost as many bottles of wine. This is hardly an abundant yield from 50 hectares of vineyard. However, during picking each grape cluster was examined and every mouldy or unripe berry was removed by hand. There was no other way to ensure only healthy grapes in perfect condition found their way into the winery. Our objective of producing grapes with a well-balanced ratio between physiological ripeness and sugar content appeared to be within our reach. The 2008 vintage is characterised by wines with perfectly ripe aromas and flavours, coupled with a harmonious equilibrium between alcohol and acidity levels.

Preview: The 2008 vintage. We look back on an extremely difficult year, full of anxiety but one from which we have learned enormously. Altogether we harvested 25 % less than expected. However the quality of the various wines looks extremely promising and they will almost certainly turn out to be hugely satisfying. The first 2008 wines were bottled at the beginning of March.

Goldmuskateller, La Rose de Manincor and Kalterersee are all slender and delicate and characterised by accentuated fruit. As such they completely correspond to the Manincor style: bold, expressive and strongly embodying their terroir. The other wines in contrast will remain for a long time yet in wooden casks on their fine lees and appear to be developing well.

Réserve della Contessa, Sophie and the new Sauvignon Blanc are expected to be bottled in June and released for sale during the autumn. All three have intense aromas with a strong mineral character and after the malolactic fermentation they still retain a firm acid backbone.

Among the 2008 red wines Pinot Noir seems to stand out as the most impressive: a wine seldom combines firmness and structure with such absolute finesse. The Cabernet Franc, Lagrein and Merlot are also showing extremely well in tastings and all red wines have exceptionally supple tannins in common.

Here and now. This year the 2006 and 2007 red wines will be released. Although 2006 was not a great year the wines are eminently inviting and moreish with playful elegance. Cassiano 2006 will be released in June while the Réserve del Conte 2006 has been providing pleasure since last year.

In contrast 2007 is a so-called “great” vintage with multi-layered, many-faceted, concentrated wines which are now just beginning to open up and reveal their intrinsic harmonious complexity. Mason and Lagrein in April, Réserve del Conte in June, Mason di Mason in the autumn, while enthusiasts of Cassiano and Castel Campan will have to wait until 2010. The 2007 red wines are without doubt among the finest which the Manincor estate has produced to date.