2017 Manincor, Reserve del Conte, Lagrein, Merlot & Cabernet, Alto Adige, Italy.
Manincor is one of the most prized estates in the Alto Adige, it is all biodynamic and the wines are some of Italy’s best under the radar values with a fabulous collection of hand crafted offerings that includes some gorgeous blended wines like this Reserve del Conte as well as some incredible single varietal wines, like their Eichhorn made from Pinot Bianco, it is one of the world’s best versions of Pinot Bianco of Pinot Blanc I’ve tried. If you are a fan of Foradori and or Terlano, you’ll want to search out these Manincor wines, in particular this intriguing red blend, that is about equal parts Lagrein, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in most vintages and makes for a deeply colored and layered wine with dark berry fruit, a perfumed bouquet and mineral notes that is stunningly elegant. The Lagrein, a rare native grape to the Alto Adige, is the special sauce here adding to the intensity of this wine’s purple hue, floral tones and spicy flavors with the Merlot giving round textures, plumy depth and the Cabernet builds the structure and delivers creme de cassis and lingering blackberries. The tannins are ripe and smooth in this warm vintage and the Reserve del Conte drinks very opulently and with a graceful plush mouth feel, it gains delicacy with every sip with black cherry, plum, blueberry and currant fruits filling out on the refine medium/full palate along with snappy anise, cedar, minty herb and a hint of smoke, pencil lead and vanilla. There are few wines that drink as well as this for the price, this is a real charmer and while understated it is near impossible to resist, and even better with a great food pairing and a meal with friends. Manincor is owned and run by Count Michael Goëss-Enzenberg, who’s family has a wine growing tradition for more than 400 years in the region, and the estate includes vineyards, extensive fruit orchards and several historic manor houses that date back to 1608. The Enzenberg family’s connection to Alto Adige’s wine community is well documented from as far back as 1698 and refer, according to the winery, to the Enzenberg family’s wine cellars in Terlan, Kaltern and Schwaz in North Tyrol.

The delicious 2017 Manincor Reserve del Conte, 35 % Lagrein, 40 % Merlot and 25 % Cabernet, comes from the Manincor estate and the “Panholzerhof”, both sites are south-east facing overlooking the picturesque Lake of Kaltern at 250 meters above sea level with soils that are mineral rich comprised of sand and clay mixed with limestone, gravel and other glacier (morainal) deposits. These vineyards are among the warmest in all South Tyrol, pre-destined, says the winery, for the production of great red wines, which this Reserve del Conte proves. I have been a fan of Manincor for many years now and these exceptional wines always bring a huge smile to my face and it was privilege and an honor to have tasted the wines in the past with Manincor’s owner Michael Graf Goëss-Enzenberg, who explained in great detail his love of place and his passion for holistic farming, you can tell immediately he is connected to his land and spares no expense in preserving it’s nature for future generations. The grapes, Lagrein, Merlot and Cabernet, from each parcel of vineyard sites were crushed separately and fermented in a mixture of oak and cement vats and stainless steel tanks. Manincor, in keeping with more natural winemaking practices uses 100% indigenous yeasts for primary fermentation. Maceration on the skins, as the winery notes, lasted ten days and was rigorously controlled, during which time the cap of skins was pushed down into juice daily to extract this wine’s velvety, assertive but ripe tannins. After going dry the wine was gently racked into oak barrels of varying sizes where it matured for twelve months before being bottled and rested in the cellar another few months to mature. This estate’s grapes have always been prized with most of crop going to top co-ops, but when Count Michael Goëss-Enzenberg took over Manincor from his uncle in 1991 the estate started the process to produce their own wine under the Manincor label, this finally happened in 1996 after an intense rehabilitations in the vineyards, which are now certified biodynamic, and finding the best clonal selections of grapes and that hard work and belief can be seen in the bottle, this is a quality producer with wines that reflect the land and the people perfectly, that I highly recommend getting to know.
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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