2016 Pojer e Sandri Muller Thurgau
Region: Trentino < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; sandstone, siltstone, limestone and dolomite soils; stainless steel fermentation; bottled unfined/unfiltered w/ XX So2; xx cases; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Fiorentino Sandri + Mario Pojer
In 1975 Pojer e Sandri was started by two buddies, Fiorentino Sandri and Mario Pojer in the alpine region of Trentino. Pojer had just graduated with his enology degree and Sandri’s family owned 2 steep hectares of vineyards, so they joined forces to make wine and distill grappa in Sandri’s mom’s kitchen. Fast-forward 30+ years and the two, with help from Pojer’s daughter Elisa and son Fede, are making some of the region’s best wines using a mix of modern innovations and old-school simplicity. Like pressing grapes in a vacuum so that sulfites are not necessary, making barrels from the trees that grow on their property, or experimenting with ways to cleanse grapes of environmental residue. When I met Fede recently in SF, he told me about a jacuzzi-like contraption they built to gently wash the grapes after harvest. Because, even though they are working organically, not everyone in the tightly-packed Trentino region is – and with wind, rain and water table contamination, there is bound to be some pesticide residue on all grapes. By giving them a little bath before fermentation, they safely remove any bad stuff, while preserving 70% of the natural yeasts – the strong guys, enough to kick start the fermentation naturally. Love this! Müller Thurgau, a hybrid of Kerner and Riesling, is the dominant white grape of this Alpine area, precisely because it requires mountain soils and extreme diurnal range (difference between day and night temps) to take on the minerality and acid that balances the intense aromatics. Boldly peachy, citrusy and floral, this wine wears its Alpine character proudly, but the zippy acid finish keeps it fresh and clean. Fantastic food wine – drink with Indian, Thai or any exotic flavors, as well as your very American T-day feast.