Viticulture in South Tyrol has ancient roots: at least 3000 years ago, since, in some areas, sickles were found for pruning, very similar to those still used, dating back to that historical period. Although Martin Abraham and his wife Marlies are aware of carrying such a cumbersome past on their shoulders, they run a winery that, starting from a handful of years ago, has begun to produce wines, which have gained the attention of critics and wine lovers.
For Martin it was almost a formality to embrace viticulture, since, before him, his father had done it and, before that, his grandfather; where, however, the work of the current owners differs is in the choice to switch from the suppliers of grapes for social wineries to private bottlers. It may seem “only” a commendable choice but, if in the area of Appiano (where the winery is located) 90% of the vineyard territory is associated in cooperatives, the size of this choice appears in all its courage.
If the Abraham winery is located right in Appiano, its treasure are the vineyards, scattered in different plots, from those that insist in the eastern area, with a strong acid component and marly texture, to those in the western part, near Appiano Monte, almost totally calcareous. For example, the Schiava grape has found its natural habitat in the aforementioned western area, in the Pagis vineyard, 450 meters above sea level, facing east and with excellent ventilation caused by the currents that descend from the Mendola Ridge.
This also applies to the other vines (Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir) cultivated in a total area of almost 7 hectares from which 40,000 bottles per year are obtained (initially only 6000). Whether working in the vineyard or in the cellar, regardless of the grape variety, the approach remains extremely delicate and respectful of nature, which is given ample freedom to grow spontaneously among the vines. In the cellar, fermentations are spontaneous, yeasts are indigenous , ain’t no temperature control and almost no sulphites, a “recipe” to regain the relationship with nature, which the predecessors of Martin and Marlies well knew, before the industrial mould production drift.
If the quality is not lacking to the vines signed by Abraham, it should be noted that their work with the Schiava, as I had hinted earlier, is really very interesting. Oh yes, the Abraham, as well as other small/ large South Tyrolean producers (Hartmann Donà, Pranzegg, Nusserhof, In Der Eben etc.) have started investing in this vine that, until the middle of the last century, was the local vine par excellence. After a long period of latency, it was understood that it was necessary to return to invest seriously on this vine, and the results were not slow to arrive, as in the case of this Upupa Rot.
We are talking about a Schiava with a small balance (around 7%) of Pinot Noir; the vines are over 50 years old and make an average of 45 quintals per hectare, the result of a first selection in the vineyard that allows only the best bunches to mature for as long as possible. Once in the cellar, the grapes are destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts, and macerated on the skins for three weeks, before a soft pressing and a spontaneous clarification by sedimentation. The resulting wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and ages for 15 months on fine lees, in oak barrels of 500 liters, before bottling and marketing.
The 2017 vintage shows an almost impalpable ruby color, both for its concentration and consistency, with a range of scents that opens on pomegranate, Ravenna cherry, orange and red currant, followed by pot pourri of roses, Saturnia peach flowers, vinyl and Mount Athos incense, with measured final ferrous/ blood echoes. Despite the alcoholic strength stops at 12,5 ABV, the palate is full, broad, even without excesses, with an intriguing roundness and an irrepressible drinkability; all this combined with the return of fruit and flowers accompanying the long finish, leaving behind a subtle savory texture that invites greedily to the next sip.
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