Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 27 November 2011

'Bollicine su Trento'*: visit to Maso Martis

View of the landscape from close to Maso Martis winery

We had five visits to Trentino producers yesterday starting with the 12 ha estate of Maso Martis, which the Stelzer family bought in the 1980s. They made their first vintage of sparkling wine in 1990. Of the 12 ha seven are planted with Chardonnay and the rest with Pinot Noir. They produce around 65,000 bottles a year with Trentadoc (bottle fermented) accounting for 50,000. 

Like a number of other producers they are moving away from the pergola system of training vines to the trellised guyot system, which is easier to work and allows the grapes to be exposed to the sun. It would seem that this is a return to the system that was used here, at least in part in the 18th century. They are also moving to organic viticulture. 

Of the four Maso Martis sparkling wines we tasted my preference was for the quite rich and creamy 2005 Riserva (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay). I also liked the delicate strawberry flavoured Brut Rosé (100% Pinot Noir) – 21€. My least favourite was the over-priced and over-evolved 2002 Madame Martis (70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier). Madame Martis sells for 65€, while the Riserva is only 22.50€ – no competition: three bottles of the Riserva for one of MM. Fortunately they only make 500 bottles of this icon wine.  

They run a very active blog here.    

 Pergola trained vines now giving way to the guyot system widely used in France and other parts of Italy 

Pergola system that shades the grapes 

 Vines and rocky landscape

 Owner Roberta Stelzer

Pupitres for hand riddling

A moustache isn't just for Movember! 


Luc Charlier said...

Your pictures are a good example of how complicated it can be to alter an existing pruning system, Jim. Your last but 4 exhibit illustrates a vine with one strong stem and 4 main branches (or maybe even 5 with one hidden at the back). How do you start a Guyot from there on ? Mind you, it’s fun to prune. Count on no more than 25 ares a day under these circumstances, though, if you work hard and long hours.
I experienced the opposite myself in 2005 and 2006 with the syrah at Alt de Coume Majou.
The previous owner had chosen a very prolific double Guyot, not legal in AOC perspective but also very sensitive to strong winds en over-demanding in our dry climate. I had to “restart” most vines from the beginning to create a decent “cordon”. And then again, after 4 years, I had to “reduce “the double Royat to a single one in many plants, due to the lack of water: it woudn’t take that many bunches !
This year, 2011, I could happily collect 4.000 kg of grapes (on 1.28 ha), yielding in the end some 1.000 l of rosé and, 2 weeks later, 20 hl of a sound red wine (including press). Waw, just in excess of 20 hl/ha, my personal best !

Jim Budd said...

As usual Luc you are right. It is very complicated to change a pruning system. In the case of moving from a pergola to a guyot system I'm sure that the only way is to ripped out the pergola vines and replant using the guyot trellising. A long and expensive business.