2018 Thomas Niedermayr Hof Gandberg Bronner '04'
Region: Mitterberg <Trentino-Alto Adige < Italy
Grapes: Souvignier Gris
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic since 1990; chalk and loam soils; fermented on the skins for 1 day with no temperature control; fermented in stainless steel for 3.5 months, then 4 months in neutral wood barrels and another 4 months in stainless steel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 10ppm So2: 13.5% ABV; 200 cases
Winemaker: Thomas Niedermayr
The Trentino-Alto Adige region is the most northernly, sitting at high elevation in the Dolomiti (Italian alps), and boasts a very complicated geopolitical history. Once a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, it is now the combination of two autonomous provinces: Trentino (steeped in Italian culture and language) and Alto Adige, which is predominating German. This part of Italy looks and feels dramatically different then the rest of the country, with towns that like typical Bavarian villages, a plethora of Medieval castles and the dramatic backdrop of the snowy Alps. It is also a source of some the greatest white wines in Italy.
Although most of the winemaking culture of Trentino-Alto Adige is centered on co-operatives, there are still a handful of independent winemakers in the area. Long the young Thomas Niedermayr, whom we met at RAW LA last year, who manages 5 hectares of vineyards at his family-run winery. After working on a biodynamic farm in Austria, Thomas took over for his father, who has cultivated grapes organically, with a strong emphasis on biodiversity, since the late 80's. He has focused on hybrid grape varieties that were created to resist some of the common mildews that plague the region, eliminating the need for even organically-approved copper and sulphur sprays.
Bronner, a cross between a Merzling (what?) and and an even more obscure cryptically called GM 6493, is a unique grape with white flesh and enchanting magenta-colored berries. With just a day on the skins, his '04' bottling is a very gentle, subtly aromatic (barely) orange wine that smells like Mediterranean herbs and freshly cut Alpine hay, with citrus, green herbs, beeswax and a crystalline minerality on the palate -- it tastes like a citrusy, herby, very healthy elixir that you would be gifted after a spa treatment. This is our kind of spa water!