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La Vis Merlot Trentino 2002
The Autoctoni line satisfies the need to bring high-quality Trentino wines to the market, with grapes that really exalt the genius loci. This is the case with the gentle Sette Fontane Nosiola, the subtle Piaggi Schiava, the strong Rover Terodego, the surprising L’Altro Manzoni Maso Franch Incrocio Manzoni, the elegant Lagrein Greggi, and the high mineral Cadrobbi Müller Thurgau.
The richness and variety of the land has also meant international varieties have found a preferred location in the Trentino area over the past century. The Ritratti line is grown in locations of the highest prestige, proposing the fine Del Diaol Chardonnay, the fragrant Maso Clinga Gewürztraminer, the aromatic Maso Tratta Sauvignon, the intense Cabernet Sauvignon, the enveloping Pinot Noir or the wonderfully refreshing Pinot Grigio.
Ever true to their respect of the land, some members have chosen to embrace the Bio (organic) cause, thus leading to the creation of the award-winning Ai Padri Gewürztraminer, the complex Manci Chardonnay, the elegant Arcadia Pinot Grigio and the fragrant and fruity Nailam Marzemino wines, all grown on the Trento hills.
The range is completed by the Simboli line, created to satisfy the requests of wine lovers who like their food at restaurants to be accompanied by excellent wines, everyday, and the Storie di Vite line. Although maintaining the pleasant and authentic character of Trentino wines, these two lines are specifically targeted at the modern market, reflecting an offer that is becoming increasingly popular with families.
Last but not least, the two new LA VIS sparkling wines, the 100% white Chardonnay and the Rosé (Chardonnay and Pinot Nero grapes), are also highly appreciated.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.
In the Glass
Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.
Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.
Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.