The Juval hillside is located near Naturno, in the lower Val Venosta, a valley at the foot of the Sessa Dolomites, 30-40 kilometers north-east of Bolzano, in South Tyrol. Its name comes from the latin Mons Jovis (Mount of Jupiter) as evidence of the fact that the ancient Romans knew the area and guarded it because of its strategic position, just above the valley. The first settlements traces, however, date back to much earlier: it is estimated that the area was populated as early as the sixth millennium BC. The most explicit evidence of these populations is the discovery, in 1991, of one of the most famous mummies in the world, the Simulan Man, who lived around 3200 BC.
In an area such as this, so rich in history, the famous extreme alpinist Reinhold Messner bought, in 1983, a castle (as a summer residence) which over time became one of its museums, whose lands had a great vocation to wine. This latter aspect prompted Messner, in 1992, to found, together with the Aurich consorts, the Unterortl-Castel Juval winery, with its four hectares between 600 and 850 meters of altitude. Here the vines are planted at high density (8000 vines per hectare) and the agronomic techniques are mainly manual, also because of the excessive steepness and slope of the vineyards that would not allow the use of machinery. The soils are characterized by the presence of the characteristic gneiss rocks that heat very quickly to the rays of the sun, guaranteeing an excellent excursus of the temperatures between the warm mornings and the nights cooled by the air currents coming from Val Senales.
Among these vineyards, in the most protected and slightly downstream (630-700 meters high) area, is planted the delicate Pinot Noir, lulled by the gentle slope air currents which ensure a climate free of humidity so bad for this vine. The grapes, once harvested, arrive in the cellar, where they ferment in stainless steel barrels, whole cluster, then are separated of the stalks and rest to macerate for a few weeks. The wine, finally, ages in oak barrels and large acacia wood barrels for about six months, before bottling and marketing after a few months.
The 2017 vintage has a rather pale but brilliant ruby color, with a main aromatic accompaniment of wild blackberry, ripe peach peel, violet and graphite, enriched with wild strawberry, dolomitic flora, cinnamon and vinyl, with final echoes of blond tobacco and Chinese lacquer. The mouthfeel is immediately extremely agile, with an almost balsamic freshness, combined with good sapidity and a discreet glyceric contribution, with a back-olfactory fruity-floral that is enriched, in the good length end, by a slight note of blood-iron.
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