Category Archives: Wine education

MOMS WHO NEED WINE EVENT FEATURING MEZZACORONA

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Moms Who Need Wine is a blog community of moms from across the globe and on Thursday, July 17th, they held a 2 hour #MomsNightIn Ustream event featuring Mezzacorona wines.

 

Over glasses of our classic Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Moscato, as well as our NOS Teroldego, Cliffhanger Vineyards Pinot Grigio and Cliffhanger Vineyards Red Blend, the moms compared tasting notes, gushed over favorite TV shows, and divulged personal details from their lives with chat participants from all over the world.

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Our PhD winemaker, Lucio Matricardi, shared his philosophy and passion for the wines through a YouTube video in order to help the moms experience our full bodied wines at their best.

 

After the final toast of the evening, newly minted #MezzacoronaMoms jumped from Ustream to Facebook to “Like” Mezzacorona and share their excitement from participating in the event. It was truly a fantastic #MezzacoronaMoment for the moms and the Mezzacorona brand alike!

 

Sip and stream the recorded MomsWhoNeedWine broadcast clips: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/moms-who-need-wine

 

Watch Mezzacorona Wines Presented by Lucio Matricardi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP_pCi-Cw_0

 

Cliffhanger Vineyards from the Dolomites

             Reserve Quality Pinot Grigio and Proprietary Red Blend Wines                   

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As of June 1st Cliffhanger Vineyards Wines from Mezzacorona will be available in the US market.

Cliffhanger Vineyards wines are produced from tiny vineyard plots located on and around the steeply terraced granite faced slopes, and ledges of the Dolomite Mountains in Trentino, Italy.

Their strong roots penetrate the cracks in the granite subsoil in search of water and nutrients. These unique growing conditions and terroir produce perfect grapes for wines crafted on the “Edge of Perfection” – the closest one can come to such an ideal and extreme environment.

These wines are structured, refined, elegant and brightly flavored. The crisp air and  cool Adige River influence the microclimate and melting Glaciers provide these grapes with depth and structure.

“The Cliffhanger Vineyards style shows the passionate dedication of our farmers to cultivate grapes in extreme conditions” – explains winemaker Lucio Matricardi, PhD. “These wines reflect the character of the Trentino people: Strong and gentle at the same time”.

 

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio

 

CLIFFHANGER VINEYARDS PINOT GRIGIO

A reserve level quality 100% Pinot Grigio with an established pedigree; hand- selected lots of best grapes from the vintage.

 

Color: slightly yellow with a hint of green
Bouquet: rich and complex with floral and fruity notes
Flavor: aroma of ripe pear and chamomile, dry flowers, fresh melon and white peach. Partial Malo-lactic and touch of oak component add depth, texture and length

 

Made to drink alone, or, with food because of generosity of  both fruit and body. It pairs well with a ariety of light appetizers or with pasta with white meat suace and is perfect with fried and grilled fish.

 

 

 

 

56_Cliffhanger_red blend (2)CLIFFHANGER VINEYARDS PROPRIETARY RED BELND

A Reserve level Proprietary Red Blend of sophisticated Trentino indigenous grapes, such as Lagrein 30% and Teroldego 70%.

 

Color: deep ruby-garnet in color
Bouquet: intense and complex with a perfect balance of red fruits, and spicy notes.
Flavor: displays ripe red and black fruits, such as cherries and blueberries with a wonderful balance.
Notes of toasty oak, vanilla and spice add complexity.

 

This wine is as close as any vintner can come to expressing an ideal profile of grapes used in a blend. For the generosity of fruit and body it pairs well with seasoned cheese, red meat and game.

 

 

 

Cliffhanger Vineyards Wines: Beyond the boundaries of expectation!

 

Find out more on  Mezzacorona website  or watch our video

 

Why Choose Screw Caps?

At the end of the 90’s some prestigious wineries started using screw caps for their premium wines. PlumpJack Winery in Napa Valley, for example, began using screw caps on their expensive Cabernets in 1997 and they had no trade fallouts.

In the following years, more and more wineries all over the world decided to adopt this new kind of closure in order to prevent consumers from experiencing a “corked wine”.

 

The introduction of screw caps has not been easy, though. At the beginning, many consumers associated the screw cap with low quality products, but now screw caps have gained widespread acceptance. Here are the main reasons why:

 

– They preserve the taste and smell of the wine;

– They prevent oxygen from entering the bottle;

– They reduce the sulphate content (antioxidants);

– They are easy to open and close;

– They are hygienically more secure;

– They increase shelf life.

 

 

For these reasons, screw caps are overtaking the cork as the preferred bottle closure by wine growers and winemakers alike.

 

They literally protect the fruit of their labor and now consumers are understanding the benefits as well.

 

 

Sometimes, though, consumers face some problems with opening screw capped bottles. Sometimes a screw cap is difficult to open, but in most cases you just need to follow a simple trick. If you try to open the screw cap by holding the bottle by the neck, it is more challenging to open, but if you hold it from the bottom, it shouldn’t be difficult at all!

 

 

Watch our YouTube video, featuring our winemaker Lucio Matricardi, who will show you how to open a screw cap bottle correctly!

 

 

Mezzacorona, how high altitude viticulture can be successful.

 

 

Here, on the granite-faced slopes of theDolomiti Mountainsin the Trentino growing region of  Northern Italy, Mezzacorona has been growing its own vineyards since 1904.

Harsh winters, short summers and perfect Alpine conditions provide very expressive grapes for these generously fruited and bold wines.

 

High altitude viticulture is certainly not easy to pursue. Many of our vineyard sites are tiny, precariously sloped plots where the vine must be strong and deep-rooted. Other than high costs for vineyards development and management, there is a wide range of factors that make growing high elevation vines a challenge. Temperature changes, difficult weather conditions, and intense radiations are just a few.

Apparently the mountain should not be considered the best choice for practising viticulture, but if the Trentino region –with its Alpine environment and climate conditions– can become one of the most important viticultural area in Italy and in the world, there most be a reason why. In fact, we’ll will show you there are many reasons why!

 

 “Bacchus amat colles” is an expression used by Romans to state that the hillside and mountain vineyards are the best growing areas, thanks to their exposition and soil composition which positively influence the vine development and grape quality.

 

 

Mezzacorona cultivates its own vineyards in Northern Italy from the gorgeous Lake Garda in the South to the foot of the snow capped Dolomites in the North. The region experiences a wide range of micro-climates, from Mediterranean to Alpine, that allow Mezzacorona to cultivate each grape varietal in the most suitable zone for it to express its full potential.

 

 

Mezzacorona vineyards are grown at different altitudes, ranging between 650ft asl to 2,300ft asl. When we talk about high altitude viticulture, it’s important to distinguish between the absolute relief, which is simply the difference in elevation between a given location and sea level and the relative relief, the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points in a given area. (Source: Wine East, “First High Altitude Symposium” , November-December 2007).

 

In viticulture the relative relief is the most important aspect to consider. Vines planted at different altitudes develop differently, mainly because of temperature ranges and light intensity.

 

Here, at the foot of the Italian Alps, temperature lowers about 1°F by 300ft asl, affecting the vegetative activity of the vines.

 

 Moreover, at the latitude and altitude where Mezzacorona cultivates its vineyards, the atmosphere is more rarefied and UV rays increase about 3-4% every 800ft asl. High elevation vines generally have a shorter growing season, but can have higher rates of photosynthesis, more anthocyanins, more colours, and of course, more flavours which are found everyday in the Mezzacorona wines. All of this amounts to an authentic expression of our pristine environment!

Mezzacorona Teroldego, the “Tyrol’s Gold”

 

In Italy, more than 200 different indigenous grape varietals are cultivated, characterized by unique perfumes and flavors. Each has a distinctive profile, resulting from a special terroir that contributes to make them inimitable.  In Trentino, at the foot of the Italian Alps, people have been cultivating with passion and dedication several local grape varietals that here found the ideal place where to grow successfully and which now have become part of DNA of the region.

 

One of most representative grape varietals of Trentino is the Teroldego. It is a local red varietal characterized by a strong connection with the very specific soil of the area surrounding Mezzacorona: the “Piana Rotaliana”. It is a flat area located 20 km north of Trento, locked in between two rivers: the Adige (the second longest river in Italy after the Po), and the Noce, a smaller local river. The soil of this area is alluvial with an upper level of cultivable soil (50-80 cm) and a sandy, pebbly stratified skeleton. This soil is characterized by great freshness and an absence of water stagnation.

It is said that the origin of the name Teroldego comes from a combination of the German words “Tiroler” and “Gold”, literally meaning “Tyrol’s Gold”. The wine was poured in the Viennese courts during the Austrian-Hungarian ruling. Teroldego Rotaliano, a close cousin of Lagrein, was the first Trentino wine to obtain the D.O.C. appellation (denominazione di origine controllata)  in 1971, and was bottled by Mezzacorona.

 

Today the varietal has been refined according to our tradition, and continues to win over new consumers thanks to its  distinctive, intense colour and unmistakable fragrance and flavor that have made it famous.

Mezzacorona Teroldego pairs great with rich first courses like the traditional Italian lasagna and is perfect with roasted and grilled meats or aged cheese.

 

What are you waiting for? Mezzacorona Teroldego is definitely worth a try, you will love it!

 

 

 

How to improve the quality of red varietals

 

It’s already mid-September and here at Mezzacorona, we have finished harvesting the white varietals grown in our estates, mainly Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Now it’s time for reds, either local varietals like Teroldego (literally “Tyrol’s Gold”, considered the “Prince” of red wines here in Trentino) or international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot cultivated in our vineyards close to the Lake Garda, in the southern part of the region.

 

Maybe not everybody knows that before harvesting the red varietals, in the final stage of maturation, it’s important to do a couple of operations (all performed by hand!)  in order to improve the quality of the wine: cutting the bunch tip and removing the bunches that have not completely ripened.

 

It’s evident that cutting the tip of the bunches (from 8 to10 cm) determines a reduction in the overall production (usually about 10%), but it is fundamental to improve the quality of the wine. As a matter of fact, the tip is usually characterized by the highest acidity level and the lower sugar content: removing it, the sugar content of the single bunch increases of 1° Babo (corresponding of about 5-6%) and other positive parameters, like polyphenols, improve.

 

The last operation that needs to be done in the pre-harvest is crop thinning in order to standardize the final production. If the farmers followed all the suggestions our vineyard managers gave them throughout the past year, just a few grapes will need to be removed from the vines. This operation takes about 15 – 20 hours per hectare, while cutting the clusters requires 50 hours of manual labor per hectare.

 

 

Both are clearly labor intensive operations, but here, at Mezzacorona, there is just one philosophy to be followed: Quality comes first.

 

The Importance of Lighter Bottles for the Environment

Glass is still considered the best material used to preserve food and wine in particular, thanks to its chemical inertia that guarantees absence of transfers to the contents inside the package.

To produce a bottle of glass you need sand, soda ash

, and limestone -which all are abundant on Earth, but the process requires much more ENERGY than one would imagine.

The energy is needed to heat the components until they are melted, and is proportional to the amount of glass that has to be produced. A bottle of glass weighing 400 g results in the production of 1.15 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2), while a bottle of 800 g produces exactly twice the quantity of CO2, 2.30 kg.

In the time when the market trends dictates the use of heavier bottles, Mezzacorona has always clung to the concept that the content is more important than the container and has always used bottles lighter than the standard used by the competition.

 


 

 

410 g is the average weight of the bottles used by Mezzacorona.

 

500 g is the average weight of the bottles used by the competitors (in some cases the weight of an empty bottle of wine exceeds the wine weight of 750g).

 

 

 

 

The choice of using a lighter bottle results in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: for every 10 bottles, there is 2.6 kg less emission omitted (which equals 1300 liters of gaseous CO2). In addition to direct energy saving, there is also a significative reduction of pollution, especially related to transportation and disposal.

Mezzacorona is evaluating the use of even lighter bottles, but many issues must be taken into consideration. While the increase in weight above 400 grams has only an aesthetic function, the reduction below this value may compromise its mechanical characteristics. Moreover, the use of lighter bottles shall guarantee equal security in terms of shipping and handling in order to protect our customers.

Our customers, who of course will be the first to hear of any changes as we evaluate introducing even lighter bottles into Mezzacorona’s repertoire!

Screw Caps vs Corks

Although the screw cap was first created for pharmaceutical purposes and to seal such beverages as mineral water, soft-drinks, and hard-liquors, it’s had a place within the wine industry for far longer than many realize. Traditionally, the cost was notably less compared to its cork counterpart and for this reason it was mainly used in wines that were both low in price and low in quality.  But their usage wasn’t solely based on their attractive price tag.  Winemakers found that the utilization of corks with low quality wines made these wines practically undrinkable so other methods of sealing the bottle, such as the screwcap, were introduced to subdue these negative characteristics as well as prolong a bottle’s shelf life.  Today, the main “defect” of the screwcap is in fact not a defect at all, but a negative perception taken from its history: it is associated with an image of low-quality wine, particularly in the countries where it was traditionally produced (France, Italy, Spain).

Interestingly enough, while the progress of materials has been able to better the performance and overall image of the screwcap, modernization has not been as kind to the cork –as nothing is able to guarantee the absence of it’s negative organic substances blending with a wine. In this respect, the synthetic cork represents a notable improvement compared to the standard cork, but it is still an “imitation” with some issues regarding the oxida tion of the wine. In fact the synthetic cork cannot completely prevent oxygen from sneaking into the bottle, that means a reduction in the shelf-life of the wine to about 2 years for whites and 3-4 years for reds.

Screw caps are already largely used in some markets (Canada, Switzerland, Scandinavia, England, New Zealand, and are breaking cultural and mental barriers in more traditional countries thanks to their long list of strengths. How many of these were you aware of?

– They do not give abnormal taste or odor to the wine
–  They prevent oxygen from entering the bottle
–  They reduce the sulphite content (antioxidants)
–  They are easy to open and close
–  They are hygienically more secure
– They increase shelf life

For these reasons, screw caps are overtaking the cork as the preferred bottle closure by wine growers and winemakers alike. They literally protect the fruit of their labor.

And what about the bottlecap? This method happens to be one of the most preferred closures of enologists as it can guarantee the optimal aging of millions and millions of bottles of sparkling wine and champagne for years… but this, our friends, is another story.