Ticino’s viticultural history is not well known, the vines have been planted here for two thousands years, but compared to other European areas its widespreading is not related to the Roman times but to Monks coming from Burgundy. Quality production started at the beginning of the twentieth century, after the replanting of the swiss vineyard which had been completely devastated by philloxera at the end of the nineteenth century.
Ticino is the only Swiss vine-growing region on the south of the Alps, has the longest sunshine hours in Switzerland, and is well known for quality red wine production.
In Ticino the vineyards lie from the border with Italy to the escarpments on San Gottardo Pass and Novera Pass, where the source of the Ticino river is. The climate is moderate continental thanks to the protection of the Alps, winters are mild and summers can benefit from some mediterranean influences. The vineyard plots are usually small, scattered and very often terraced to limit the erosion due to the heavy rain that hits this area.
The viticultural areas in Ticino can be split into two regions: Sopraceneri and Sottoceneri.
Sopraceneri: this area is north of Monte Ceneri and has an alpine climate. The glacial soil is gravelly with sand and slime. Wines produced here are generally austere and astringent, with potential for aging.
Sottoceneri: this area is south of Monte Ceneri and has a mild climate. The clay soil is rich and deep. The wine are usually smooth and elegant.
A milestone for viticulture in Ticino is 1906 because the grape Merlot was planted for the first time. Since then Merlot gradually took the place of other varieties, such as Barbera and Freisa, that at that time were mostly planted there. Nowadays, Merlot is cultivated on 80% of the 1000 hectares of vineyards, so it can be elected as the true icon of the viticulture in Ticino.
Merlot in Ticino shows its versatility and can produce wines that reflect the different terroirs and styles; easy drinking red wines that can enhance the varietal fruitiness, as well as more complex and concentrated ones. The really concentrated wines usually benefit from oak maturation.
Bianco di Merlot is also produced here, which is a really pleasant, delicate, floral wine made with the white winemaking techinque. It has to be drunk while young.
Riflessi d’Epoca – Merlot – Brivio – Ticino D.O.C. – 2013
Brivio is a brand from the Gialdi Vini SA group, a top merchant in the Ticino’s wine industry with approximatively thirty labels. Grapes are are taken from over three hundred wine growers from the Sottoceneri region. The ageing cellars have been dug in the Monte Generoso rocks, so they can benefit from optimum humidity and temperature conditions during the year.
Riflessi d’Epoca is fermented with skin contact at a temperature of 30-32°C for 13-17 days. The wine matures in french barriques for at least 13 months and is bottled without fining, filtering or clarification.
- Look: clear, deep ruby, with really slow tears and well defined arches.
- Smell: pronounced aroma intensity of black plum, prune and cherry, as well as tertiary aromas of coffee, liquorice and baking spices.
- Taste: full bodied, medium alcohol, supple, with high-quality tannins and an elegant long finish.
- Pairing: beef stew with roast potatoes.