For your visit we've chosen a beautiful September day, one of many sunny days in late summer where the sky is a clear blue, not yet autumnal, with only a few wisps of cloud over the Mendel.
Of course you're already familiar with the area of Mazzon, perhaps the best Blauburgunder vineyards in the whole of southern Tyrol. An island of vines 350 m above the level of the far away sea, high above valley, river and meadow, with the ruins of Kaldiff castle, the little church of St. Michael and the protective mountain crest of the Königswiese.
The character of the wine comes from the soil, here sandy, clay soil with a high lime content. We couldn't wish for more. A strong, we could almost say intelligent, soil which regulates the temperature and stores nutrients.
We move on, down the slopes of the valley to where the river Etsch flows about 200 m below us. The summer heat at this low height can often be oppressive but here a cool wind from lake Garda, the Ora, brings refreshing relief. Important not only for the people of the area but more so for the tightly bunched Blauburgunder grapes.
Mazzon and Blauburgunder are one and the same. As are Mazzon and Pinot nero or Mazzon and Pinot noir.
The farm lies solid and composed among its vines. It has seen the centuries come and go, lean times and years of plenty, cold, winter nights and warm, sunny days. It follows the rhythm of nature, the swing of the seasons and knows nothing of hectic city life.
As in the whole of southern Tyrol the vines on the Brunnenhof estate used to be trained in an arbour whereas now, also here, you will find many trellis plantations (guyot). And for a good reason: there are now 6000 to 8000 vines pro hectare of land. Each one contributes strength, character and temperament creating structured yet harmonious wines.
It goes without saying that when talking about a good yield we are referring to quality and not quantity. Everything in the right measure is our aim, above all when it comes to tending to the vines, from cutting them back in winter, to working the soil, to the correct handling of grasses and weeds.
We try to learn from mother nature and what she teaches us depends on where we are. We follow ecology while combining traditonal and modern methods, for example luring pests away without using insecticides or treating fungal diseases with copper and sulphur.
Now its time to introduce my family you can have all the experience in he world but without harmony in the home no good wine can be produced. My wife Johanna wasn't struck by love at first sight when she first came to Brunnenhof but she now shares my passion for the place and the craft. Our children Johann and Eva love the space and the security of the farm. And at harvest time, when all generations lend a hand, you can see that the 'Brunnenhof' is a real family business.
I myself grew up among the vines. The work in the vineyard and in the cellar is second nature to me. I learnt from experienced masters and from nature herself. But there is always more to learn and to discover, and this is the fascination in wine growing.
Pinot Noir vines have been growing in Mazzon for more than 100 years, supposedly brought here by Ludwig von Barth zu Barthenau. And from about this time the Rottensteiner family have been pressing this gift from Burgund. First in Bozen where they mainly produced St. Magdalena and Lagrein, and, since 1987 on the Brunnenhof where obviously Pinot Noir is our main interest and experience has taught us how to exploit the favourable climate and situation.
The wine is pressed in autumn, usually at the end of September, using every trick in the book. The Blau burgunder grapes are picked only over midday as at this time the sun has not been on Mazzon long and therefore the grapes do not contain too much heat.
Then the pressed grapes are slowly left to ferment for two to three weeks, in their own time. Every now and again we mix in the marc in order to release and combine all the different aromas of the frui.
New oak casks within old walls, a symbol of the combination between old and new on the Brunnenhof. The art is finding the right balance and therefore we make sure we use as little new wood as possible.
The wine is left in the barrique for twelve months in which time the pungent malic acid is broken down and the aromas can unfold and mature. It is the time when body, fruit and tanin harmonize. Smooth yet complex, that is Pinot Noir.
Finally the wine has to be bottled but everything in its own time. First it is moved from wood to steel and left to rest for a few months. Once bottled it is cellared for a further seven or eight months and only then, about two and a half years after the vintage, can the wine be sold. And should you allow the Pinot Noir even more time to unfold its flavours then you will be rewarded.