STIRRING THE LEES… WITH LUCIO MATRICARDI, CHIEF OENOLOGIST AT MEZZACORONA
Mezzacorona lies at the foot of the majestic Italian Dolomites, running from the edge of Lake Garda to the foothills of the towering Dolomites. The terroir here varies dramatically, as the region climbs northwards from sub-Mediterranean foothills to alpine valleys. This diversity makes Trentino an ideal location for growing varieties like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot and Teroldego. The resulting wines are all characterized by elegance and freshness, as well as perfectly complementing Italian and International cuisine.
Mezzacorona’s vineyards are easily recognisable by the pergola system used in the vineyards. This labour-intensive trellising system requires extensive manual work to maintain, with man playing a pivotal role in the process.
During our last visit to the winery we had the chance to meet the chief oenologist Lucio Matricardi and ask him a few questions.
What had the biggest impact upon you when learning winemaking?
My oenological background expanded and developed particularly during my experience in California where I attended a PhD in Oenology and Viticulture in Davis, close to San Francisco. I had the chance to deepen my knowledge on the technology and chemistry process behind winemaking!
If you could pick three vintages of any of your wines to drink on a special occasion, which ones would you choose and why?
Teroldego Rotaliano DOC 2009 – a dry and warm vintage that give birth to a powerful yet silky wine – one of the best vintage for red wine in Trentino.
Pinot Grigio Reserva 2013 – a balanced vintage with great diurnal range that gave Pinot Grigio depth and great concentration of aroma compounds.
Rotari 2015 – a very cool vintage followed by a rainy August, very fresh sparking bases with rich aromatics.
Where is the most unusual place you have seen your wine?
I had the chance to taste our Pinot Grigio with sushi in the Port of Tokyo. It was an unforgettable experience – the freshness of the fish was enhanced by our wine.
What makes the region of Trentino so special to work in?
The proximity to the Mediterranean provides warm and windy conditions during summertime, allowing grapes to reach perfect aromatic ripeness. Meanwhile, cool alpine breezes flow down the mountains surrounding the nearby valleys late in the afternoon. The combination of these factors results in freshness and aromatic intensity that embodies the unique terroir of the region.
Has climate change impacted your vineyards?
In the past 30 years, temperatures have risen 1.5 – 2.5 degrees. This has required us to change our approach in the vineyards and site selection, with a move to cultivating vines at higher altitudes. Today we have vineyards situated at 700-800m above the sea level.
What is the most memorable vintage you have ever worked?
2003 is definitely the most memorable vintage I have ever worked. A lack of rain and a lot of sun made it very special. Wines from this vintage are powerful and balanced with great ageing potential. Simply unique!