2021 Thomas Niedermayr 'Fiasco' Pet-Nat
Region: Mitterberg <Trentino-Alto Adige < Italy
Grapes: Bronner + field blend of misc red PiWi grapes
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic since 1990; chalk and loam soils; Metodo Classico: spontaneous fermentation started in stainless steel after few days on the skins. Wine was bottled 2 weeks later. Bottled unfined & unfiltered with no added So2; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Christine Wagram
NEW FIZZY RED FROM THE ASST WINEMAKER CHRISTINE WHO WORKS UNDER OUR FAVORITE NATTY ALTO ADIGE MAKER! But first a refresher on the place: Alto Adige is the most northernly Italian region, sitting at high elevation in the Dolomiti (Italian alps), and boasts a very complicated geopolitical history. Once a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Alto Adige is still predominating German. It looks and feels dramatically different than the rest of the country, with towns that resemble typical Bavarian villages, plus a plethora of Medieval castles and the dramatic backdrop of the snowy Alps. It is also a source of some the greatest wines in Italy.
Although most of the winemaking of Alto Adige is still at the co-op level, there are a handful of independent winemakers in the area. Like the young Thomas Niedermayr, whom we first met at RAW LA, 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.
We had the opportunity to visit Thomas, and spend an idyllic evening having dinner in the garden with his family at their heavenly biodynamic estate which is a literal Garden of Eden, bursting with life and love. We bonded with his assistant winemaker, a rad young German woman named Christine, who not only runs Thomas' show but makes a little of her own wine. At this fateful dinner she shared a barrel sample of her lightly fizzy red wine, and we knew we had to get some for Rock Juice.
Fast forward a year later, and that wine is here! It turned into a Pet-Nat partnership of love among friends, with shared learning (and label art) between Christine and Michael Gangl of Kobatl, another natural winemaker + PIWI champion just over the border from Thomas' in Austria. Both parties made a fun fizzy bottle, Christine's a red, Michael's a white, united by coordinating label art and the name Fiasco (spelled Fiasko in Austria). They say "‘fiasco’ truly sums up the last few years (understatement) but we are all looking to beautiful days ahead". We love that sentiment -- and this wine! Cherry red in color, with dried red fruits, cassis flower and clove on the nose. on the palate it is bright and fruity with hibiscus, raspberries and barely-there bubbles. So fun and festive for the holidays! STAFF FAVORITE