Trentino, an area known for high quality sparkling wines, today is even more valued by the ‘Trentodoc’ collective brand created in 2007. Most of the producers of metodo classico Trento DOC are using this brand. These wines represent the best expression of the Dolomites production and were recognized as a collective World Heritage Site only two years later. The vineyard of the denomination is located on high ground, at an altitude ranging from 400 to 700 meters above sea level. This land has a lot of similarities with the Champagne region, especially from a climatic point of view, unlike the other Italian sparkling regions that have many different pedoclimatic characteristics. The grapes used are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with the latter being the same as those used in Champagne.
A player of this important movement is certainly the Azienda Agricola Maso Martis, founded in 1990. Despite its small size, with only 12 hectares of vineyards grown organically for a production of 90,000 bottles per year (80,000 of them being Trento Doc metodo classico), it has been able to reach a place of absolute importance at the top of the production of Trentino mountain sparkling wine in only 30 harvests. This is a great achievement, considering that Trento Doc, entirely dedicated to the production of metodo classico sparkling wine, was only born in 1993.
Maso Martis is located in Martignano, at the foot of Monte Calisio, at an altitude of 450 meters, on the eastern hills of Trento. They are on a high hill, with loamy and limestone soil, rich in Trentino red rock, which has known cultivations since the end of the 1800s. The winery is located in the middle of the vineyard with optimum exposure to sunlight and a gentle mountain breeze. The main pruning system is guyot, with a planting density of 5000 plants per hectare and the other one is pergola trentina, with 3000 plants per hectare. As mentioned, the vineyard is 100% organic, a founding value of the cellar. This way of life and production philosophy focuses on: the quality of the selected grapes; the manual harvest; the vinification and sparkling process; and thus on the quality of the final product. Working with this method of organic production means taking advantage of the natural fertility of the soil, by encouraging it with limited interventions, and boosting the biodiversity of the environment by excluding the use of chemicals, and above all, genetically modified organisms.
We tasted an extraordinary Trento, Madame Martis Riserva 2009, with only a thousand bottles being produced every year. The base wine is obtained from the soft pressing and subsequent separate fermentation of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a small addition of Pinot Meunier. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are vinified in stainless steel tanks, while Chardonnay must ferments and refines in barriques for about 8 months. The cuvée is then prepared and bottled with the addition of selected yeasts and sugars, starting the second fermentation. During this stage, the yeast transforms the sugar into carbon dioxide and makes the perlage. At the end of the fermentation and after aging on their lees for 9 years, the remuage sur pupitre – the turning of the bottles in wooden racks – is carried out. In this way, the bottles are rotated manually every day, so that they deposit the residual yeast in the neck of the bottle. The dégorgement removes the sediment, so each bottle is filled with the liqueur d’expedition. Once the refilling has taken place, the bottle is ready to be corked, wired, labelled and sold.
Let’s now move on to talk about the tasting of Trento Madame Martis Riserva 2009.
It has golden color, with very fine and never ending perlage. On the nose it has significant roasted and fragrant aromas, which are then refined by vibrant mineral nuances of graphite. These then open up to a series of floral aromas, from acacia and elderberry flowers to white rose. Lastly, these turn into dried fruit and nutty notes merging with the richness of white melon, and fruity and citrus notes of cedar. On the palate it is rich and deep, with an excellent balance of softness, freshness and salinity, as well as an elegant creaminess due to persistent carbon dioxide. The dried fruit and roasted hints come back in an enveloping aromatic at the end.
This wine can be paired with dishes of shellfish or raw fish, but to get the best out of this wine, you should have it with more complex seafood dishes. A sensational sparkling wine, which reflects the terroir and also the excellent skills and methods of the producer, of which I have recently been given the Extrabrut Rosé, but that’s another story!