The dizzying, snow-capped slopes and limestone summits of the southern extent of the Dolomite Mountain Range in northeastern Italy – a region known as Trentino-Alto Adige – score against the sky just how sharply drawn day-day life must feel to someone like Matteo Furlani. A fourth-generation farmer, whose family has worked the dolomitic soils of the rugged yet somehow vineyard-strewn mountainsides that overlook the city of Trento (from which the region as a whole, Trentino, takes its name) for over 280 years, Matteo is a winemaker with a vision reserved for idiomatic crystals. Every day up at 4:30, every night to bed at 12, with no rest for the weary as it goes; cultivating both native varieties endemic to the region in addition to some small plantings of Pinot Nero (he wishes there were more), and a sizable Chardonnay patch (most of which is sold to négociant brokers, providing a safety net to the rest of his operation), he is the current custodian of both a filial & regional style of wines, defined above all, by the land in which they are grown: sharp, clear, compared to frozen fruit and the famous one-ness of a snowflake. The sparkling wines of Trentino have long held a place of prominence in Italian wine culture, as distinct from other Italian fizzers, namely Emilia-Romagnan Lambrusci & the Prosecco of the Veneto. These Dolomitic sparklers from Furlani are made in a host of methods: col fondo, metodo ancestrale, spumante from a particular process known as metodo interroto, essentially a cross of the champagne method and pét-nat. The wines are fermented in cement tanks, see no fining (any “clarification” is achieved through racking), filtration, often no disgorgement, no temperature control, and no sulfur added, ever. Now producing a range beyond his famous bubbles, the still wines are just as exciting & transparent in their communication of place.
A still wine from the masters of fizz- but don't be alarmed. This delicate, smoky, light red more than stands up alongside the rest of the lineup. 100% Pinot Noir, hand-harvested and macerated with the skins for just 24 hours. After a light press, the juice is fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees for a few months in the same tanks. Unfined, unfiltered, no SO2.