I am finally on holiday in the middle of the Dolomites, Trentino. I check the wineries near the hotel where I’m staying, that are available for a quick visit and some wine tasting. I am intrigued by the “Zehnhof”, which despite being a German name, it is not located in South Tyrol, so I called them and book an appointment.
I meet Riccardo Rossi, Giacomo’s son, who is the founder of the Zehnhof Winery. In German their surname means “Maso alle Dieci”, the area of the Roveré della Luna Municipality where the Maso, that is the heart of the winery, is located. The area is close to South Tyrol and I also discovered that Roveré della Luna has a German toponym, Aichholz, a symbol of proximity to Tyrol, where the Italian and German cultures have been intertwined for centuries.
The Zehnhof’s vineyard covers about 9 hectares between 300 and 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by breathtaking mountains, near the Adige River and not far from the Rotalian plain. Here the vineyards are mainly trained into Trentino pergola, a system that allows the bunches to better capture the beneficial effects of sunlight and heat.
The vineyards are located in an area where the alpine climate and the more temperate one, typical of the Pre-Alps meet each other. The cold but mainly dry winters and mild summers allow the grapes to ripen in ideal conditions, thanks to important diurnal range and the typical wind of the area that prevents the spread of fungal diseases. The calcareous matrix and the loam silty texture of the soil force the roots of the vines to break through the soil to seek nutrients, resulting in strong mineral notes and great freshness In the wine. The harvesting is manual with a high degree of selection to choose only the best grapes.
The winery has been recently founded, although the Rossi family have been working in the wine industry for several generations. In the cellar, there are stainless steel fermentation tanks, which allow the temperature control of the alcoholic fermentation. There are also wooden casks for wine aging and even some pupitre. Riccardo told us that a few thousand bottles of Trento Doc age in a warehouse outside the winery. For this reason, in the family’s plans there is the idea to expand the winery in order to internalize all production activities.
With Riccardo we tasted five wines, below is the story.
Trento Brut Rossi 2019
Let us start with the wine that perhaps best characterises the region, the Trento Doc Rossi traditional method sparkling wine, made mainly from Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay. The wine ages on the lees for 32 months before disgorgement.
It is a straw-yellow coloured sparkling wine, brilliant with fine, numerous and long lasting bubbles. On the nose there are hints of yeast, freshly baked bread, followed by floral notes of acacia, citrus notes, pineapple, dried fruit and flint. It has great freshness in the mouth with beautiful flavours that go with the long finish.
Trentino Pinot Grigio Lammer Reserve 2020
Pinot Grigio has historically large plantings in the region. It is cultivated in particular in the area of the narrow mountain range of the Salurner Klause at the extreme north of the Trentino part of the Adige River valley. The wine ages for seven months in barrels sur lie and for another six months in the bottle.
The wine is of a deep straw yellow colour wine with greenish glows. On the nose, it has white flower notes, fruity hints of citrus, golden apple and pear, with hints of nutmeg and vanilla on the finish. In the mouth it is extremely balanced, with the nice freshness joined by an important glyceric softness. It is a wine with good structure and mineral tones on the finish.
Trentino Gewurztraminer Pradét 2021
The grapes of this wine come from the Pradét cru, an over 60 year old vineyard, on steep slopes in the foothills of the rocky face of the Kraun peak. In the winery, the grapes are subjected to cold pre-fermentation maceration, essential for aromatic extraction. White vinification is carried out at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks, where the wine ages on the lees for seven months.
The wine is crystalline, on the nose, we immediately detect delicate scents of rose, geranium, followed by tropical fruit and aromatic herbs, such as sage, with a light spiciness of ginger and cloves. The wine is complex and has a wide range of aromas and in the mouth, it is rich, savory and warm with high level of alcohol (14% Abv). The long and pleasant finish still shows spicy tones that makes us appreciate it even more.
Pinot Noir Onkirt 2021
The Onkirt selection vineyard is located in a historic area on the right side of the Adige Valley, between the provinces of Trento and Bolzano. In the winery, the must has macerated for 15 days, at a controlled temperature of 24-25 °C in stainless steel tanks with repeated punching downs. After racking, the wine ages on the lees for 8 months in barriques, followed by another 6 months in the bottle.
It is a “didactic wine” and has a bright ruby red colour. On the nose, it reveals notes of rose, red berries, the typical scents of forest floor and licorice, joined by a hint of pepper. In the mouth it is fresh and savory, with a subtle tannic texture and a nice long lasting finish with a herbal aftertaste. It is a very young wine that should be aged in the bottle for a considerable amount of time.
Trentino Lagrein Laiten 2021
Lagrein Laiten vineyards are on calcareous and pebble soils. The harvesting is manual and the must macerates for 15 days, at a controlled temperature of 25°C, in stainless steel tanks with repeated punching down and daily délestage. After racking, the wine ages for seven months in barriques sur lies.
The wine in the glass it shows a deep ruby red colour and it is very compact. On the nose, it highlights fresh aromas of berries, such as blackberriy, plum, chocolate notes and a touch of vanilla. In the mouth it shows its youth, with a great freshness and a very well perceivable tannin, although very smooth and velvety. The finish is very long, with long lasting toasty tones. This wine should also be tasted again in a few years.
We said goodbye, and I was very satisfied for having found this estate located in an ancient vine growing area. A dynamic winery, with a project of development, that already stands out for the high quality of its wines.