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Nerofino Rosso Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Castel Firmian 2017

Red Wine from Italy - NE Italy (Trentino, Veneto)
Nerofino is an inspired Italian blend of two important Dolomite varieties. Teroldego gives blackberry and blueberry fruit and full-bodied structure, whereas lagrein adds juicy softness with hints of cocoa. Aromatic, rich, and well structured this is a good match for any well-flavoured stew.
Price: £9.50 Bottle
Price: £57.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: IT29791

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Lagrein
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2022
  • 75cl
  • Cork, diam

North East Italy

Three regions constitute this wide and varied area. In the very north-east, abutting Slovenia and Croatia lies Friuli-Venezia Giulia. South and east of Venice spreads the broad swathe of the Veneto, one of Italy’s main wine producing areas in terms of volume. Finally, falling from the foothills of the Dolomites is Trentino-Alto Adige.

Since the 1970s Friuli-Venezia Giulia has earned a fine reputation for high-quality white wines and a burgeoning one for reds. Most of the estates here are family owned with some co-operatives dotted around. Much of the inland area is hilly or mountainous with flatter vineyards sited around the Isonzo River as it comes down to the sea. The two principal white wine making areas are the Friuli Colli Orientali in the north-west and Collio Goriziano in the centre and east around the curve of the Slovenian border.

The Orientali vineyards are in the lee of the Julian Alps and are cooler than the vineyards of Collio Goriziano though they are protected from...
Three regions constitute this wide and varied area. In the very north-east, abutting Slovenia and Croatia lies Friuli-Venezia Giulia. South and east of Venice spreads the broad swathe of the Veneto, one of Italy’s main wine producing areas in terms of volume. Finally, falling from the foothills of the Dolomites is Trentino-Alto Adige.

Since the 1970s Friuli-Venezia Giulia has earned a fine reputation for high-quality white wines and a burgeoning one for reds. Most of the estates here are family owned with some co-operatives dotted around. Much of the inland area is hilly or mountainous with flatter vineyards sited around the Isonzo River as it comes down to the sea. The two principal white wine making areas are the Friuli Colli Orientali in the north-west and Collio Goriziano in the centre and east around the curve of the Slovenian border.

The Orientali vineyards are in the lee of the Julian Alps and are cooler than the vineyards of Collio Goriziano though they are protected from northerly winds and have a more continental climate. They sit at altitudes of between 330 and 1200 metres on soils that were once beneath the ocean, so marl and sandstone predominate. The Collio Goriziano vineyards enjoy slightly greater influence from the Adriatic to the south, though the cool air draining from the higher ground in the north plays its part, and the vineyards sit upon the many steep slopes in this hilly country.

Pinot grigio was an early success here and is still widely made, but chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot bianco have joined local varieties like tocai fiuliano, picolit and verduzzo in producing some of Italy’s freshest and most interesting white wines. Local varieties like schioppetino and refosco have struggled to find an audience outside of the region in the past though this is changing, and some Bordeaux blends from the Grave region of free draining alluvial soils are making people sit up and take notice.

Trentino-Alto Adige was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and in the northern parts of the province (Alto Adige) German is still widely spoken. Indeed, the architecture, food and customs owe much to their Teutonic roots and there are elements that remain in the vineyards that echo a Germanic past. Riesling is planted here and the village of Tramin gave its name to the gewürztraminer grape which is now so widely planted in another region with Germanic influences, Alsace. To reinforce that comparison, sylvaner, muscat, müller-thurgau and pinot gris (grigio) are also to be found here.

Alto Adige is also known as the Süd-Tyrol (South Tyrol) and lies on the border with Austria and is Italy’s most northerly wine region. Here the vines grow in the foothills of the Alps, on the lower slopes along the Adige Valley. Altitudes vary between 200 and 1000 metres. White wines made the reputation of the region for their lively, fresh purity but reds are grown here too. Schiava and the burlier lagrein are the indigenous varieties much used here, though bracing cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines are made from plantings that can struggle to ripen and escape some greenness. Some very fine pinot noir wines are having an impact for their high-class and poise.

The Veneto is something of a vinous bread basket. The soils are fertile, which is not usually propitious for fine wine production, and officially permitted yields are unacceptably high. The region produces enormous quantities of everyday wines for exporting and blending but also embraces the Valpolicella region where the jewel in the crown is Valpolicella Amarone, the sweetly rich, full-bodied expression of semi-dried corvina and rondinella grapes that is sought after the world over. Though bulk production, particularly through large and highly-efficient co-operatives, is still prevalent the improvements in winemaking and viticulture are clear, and there are many producers in formerly workaday DOCs like Valpolicella and Soave who are turning their corvina, rondinella, garganega and trebbiano di lugana (turbiano) grapes into vinous gems. Prosecco is also produced here from the glera grape in the hills around Conigliano almost due north of Venice, and is something of a worldwide phenomenon in terms of sales volume. As ever, there is a lot of basic fizz but the producers who take a little more care in vineyards and wineries are making delicious bubblies at all price levels.
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Mezzacorona

Mezzacorona is an exceptionally well-run and well-equipped co-operative of some 1500 growers, with 2,600 hectares of Trentino vines, 70% of which are DOCG.

Based at the foot of the Italian Dolomites, which tower protectively over the vineyards, the vines run on trellises as far as Lake Garda, and the many surrounding lakes and rivers provide fresh, cleansing breezes. The variety of climates means that Mezzacorona can choose optimum sites for the many different grape varieties they grow.

These are used to produce a range of characterful, single-varietal wines – as well as pinot grigio, and international varieties like chardonnay and merlot, they also make exemplary teroldego and marzemino. They also use their excellent facilities to bottle wine from Feudo Arancio in south-west Sicily.

Italy Vintage 2017

2017 was a year that began with trouble, endured spikes of heat and even drought during the summer, and harvested at low yields – about 25% down on average – as a result. However, these trials have led to some high-quality wines from across the country as those low yields led to good quality fruit.

In the north-east, Barolo and Barbaresco it was a difficult vintage to negotiate. Budbreak was early which gave the devastating frosts and hail storms of April something to get their teeth into. Though the summer was warm and dry, with some drought in places, the harvest was considerably down and both Barolo and Barbaresco rely on good winemakers making good choices to achieve good results. Time will tell as the wines mature.

In the Veneto, Valpolicella was not so hard hit by frosts in the Classico area, but yields were nonetheless down after warm dry weather forced an early harvest. The wines are good, in part thanks to low yields.

In Tuscany and central Italy generally it too was a...
2017 was a year that began with trouble, endured spikes of heat and even drought during the summer, and harvested at low yields – about 25% down on average – as a result. However, these trials have led to some high-quality wines from across the country as those low yields led to good quality fruit.

In the north-east, Barolo and Barbaresco it was a difficult vintage to negotiate. Budbreak was early which gave the devastating frosts and hail storms of April something to get their teeth into. Though the summer was warm and dry, with some drought in places, the harvest was considerably down and both Barolo and Barbaresco rely on good winemakers making good choices to achieve good results. Time will tell as the wines mature.

In the Veneto, Valpolicella was not so hard hit by frosts in the Classico area, but yields were nonetheless down after warm dry weather forced an early harvest. The wines are good, in part thanks to low yields.

In Tuscany and central Italy generally it too was a difficult vintage but one that has, by and large, produced rich, intense red wines. The same story prevailed here; frosts, followed by drought-like conditions at times, and low yields. Good winemakers will have avoided overripeness.

The south was hotter still and drought caused difficulties across the region, from Puglia to Sicily. Again, yields were much reduced but quality ended up being very high, particularly for red wines.
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2017 vintage reviews
2014 vintage reviews
2013 vintage reviews

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