A few kilometres from Paviabetween cellars Oltrepò Pavesethere is one worth visiting: Mazzolino Estate. A few months ago I wrote this article where I told you, thanks to Francesca's beautiful letter, the history of this winery. I also reported my tasting notes of the Tenuta Mazzolino Cruasé - Oltrepò Pavese DOCG Metodo Classico 2013, the Terrazze Oltrepò Pavese DOC Pinot Nero 2019 and the Noir Pinot Nero Oltrepò Pavese DOC 2017. I had found these wines of incredible elegance and that's why, when I received the invitation to do this press tour, I was very happy to meet Francesca and Stefano in person and make the visit to the winery. Luckily it was today as I had my Computer Science exam yesterday! By the way... 28 and we are -4 away from graduating in Science, Culture and Politics of Food and Wine! 😍

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Tenuta Mazzolino: the fortune of a story in Oltrepò Pavese

I invite you to discover the history of this winery HEREbecause in the letter from Francesca, who is also my age, a great deal of passion really shines through. Francesca comes to Mazzolino every day from Milan to look after this oenological jewel with great dedication. And for those who don't know what we're talking about, it's about 130 km there and back and in between there is Milanese traffic!

After all, when you have such an enlightened grandfather who buys such a splendid country residence for his (large) family and draws such a precise and perfect furrow, what can you do but 'stay in it' by enhancing it with your contribution?

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Oltrepò wines: the vocation

Grandfather Enrico Bragiotti had chosen this estate where specialised agriculture had been practised since the mid-1800s thanks to Marquis Alfonso Corti, who had graduated in medicine in Vienna after interrupting his studies at the University of Pavia. After a decade of academic and professional success, publications and research, in 1854 he retired to a rural life in the beautiful Pavia hills. Marriage, illness, but probably more the disappointment of a nobleman who did not accept democratisation, led him to buy Villa Mazzolino where he chose to dedicate himself to viticulture. If in Lombardy the vineyard was treated like a tomato plant, and wine like a potato, in Piedmont the French influence had already triggered a hedonistic vision of wine and, consequently, vine cultivation was of a completely different calibre. At that time, Oltrepò Pavese was in Piedmont, and Corti, already a man of great scholarship, devoted himself to mastering oenological knowledge for the last 20 years of his life.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Exposure, soils, vineyard management

Visiting the company, I realised what Stefano had anticipated on Zoom when I wrote the last article and repeated today. Tenuta Mazzolino is located on top of a hill and the vineyards are all around occupying an angle of about 270°.. It is easy to see how you have practically all possible exposures at your disposal and can choose the most suitable one for each grape variety. In addition, the higher areas have undergone a leaching of the clay that has been deposited in the flatter areas and this generates an important diversity.

Awaiting organic certification, they have abolished all fertilisation and use little manure only where necessary. Many species are sown between the rows and particularly interesting are those with taproots that create a kind of natural ploughing by moving the soil. For example, the Phacelia has beautiful purple flowers that attract bees.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

In the cellar

Order, cleanliness and avant-garde: these are the cornerstones of Tenuta Mazzolino's cellars. Gravity is used and great care is taken in parcelling out the vineyards and terroirs, which are sometimes different even within the same row.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

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Oltrepò Pavese wines: access to the cellar already suggests a magical atmosphere!

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino
oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

In front of this wonderful vision of bottles, I want to tell you about the first tasting... consider it a preview!

Oltrepò Pavese DOCG Cruasé 2015 spring disgorgement 2021, Tenuta Mazzolino

It is an intense onion skin pink with copper highlights and brilliant. The perlage is fine, quite numerous and persistent. The nose is very elegant and delicately perfumed with notes of tart with diplomatic cream and fresh strawberries. Notes of rose flowers, cinnamon and blood orange juice follow. In the mouth, the disgorgement is a little young, the bubbles need some time to refine. Nice structure, very fresh and slightly savoury. In the mouth it is very consistent and the taste acquires a delicious note of freshly candied orange peel. You can feel that this is an extraordinary wine, but drinking it today this disgorgement does not enhance it. To buy and keep in the cellar for at least a couple of years... the potential of this Oltrepò Pavese wine they are all there!

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Oltrepò Pavese wines: the old bottles

When I see these vaults full of 'old' bottles I get excited... a far-sighted choice to keep away a few bottles of each vintage to sell and not just the archive ones.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

The barrique cellar

The care they take in choosing the barrels and the type of wood is truly fascinating. After all, working well with wood is of paramount importance both as a matter of style and to enrich the wine with tannins, which pinot noir naturally lacks. The tannins not only make an important contribution in terms of taste, but also form a special protective shield against alterations and defects in the wine. The recipe for the perfect barrel according to Tenuta Mazzolino? The barrel is a 50% of oak from the forests of Vosges that gives 'the backbone' and a 50% of oak from the forests of Nevers that gives sweetness.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Metodo Classico VSQ Blanc de Blancs 2017, Tenuta Mazzolino - Disgorgement spring 2021

It is an intense, brilliant straw yellow with a fine, numerous and persistent perlage. The nose is fine, elegant and with a nice bouquet of hazelnuts, freshly baked brioche, custard and bergamot. In the mouth it is pleasant, a little too crisp the bubbles, but this comes from being a very young disgorgement. In the mouth, the chardonnay tastes 'true to itself' where the wood is felt without being intrusive. Long toasty finish. Rich in acidity and with an "important" bubble, it has all the credentials to age in the cellar for a few years. To buy and keep.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

The villa

The villa is very beautiful, renovated with 'respect for the place' and a mix and match style with contaminations between classic, modern and exotic. You can breathe a great attention to detail that reaches even the serving dishes that have a small green stripe to match the room. We dined in this beautiful room with simplicity and elegance.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Terrazze comes from 4 different vineyards within the same commune and, as I mentioned in the previous article, in France it would be called vin de village. The vineyards are very steeply sloping (180 to 260 m above sea level) and the upper part of the 4 vineyards go into high terraces. Here the vineyard is a little more stressed and gives the wine more 'depth'.

Oltrepò Pavese DOC Terrazze 2020, Tenuta Mazzolino

It is transparent and brilliant ruby red. The nose is delicate, fine and elegant with fruity notes of pomegranate and raspberry and white chocolate. In the mouth it is consistent, fresh, fruity with well-blended tannins and a slight savouriness. Quite long on the fruity finish.

Oltrepò Pavese DOC Terrazze Alte 2020, Tenuta Mazzolino

It is ruby red with garnet edges, transparent and bright, more consistent. Completely different nose with more spicy than fruity notes of black mulberries and a trail of fermented tobacco, mushrooms, ash and orange peel. In the mouth it is more structured, more savoury and with tannin that needs some time in the bottle to round out. Long finish that lives on red orange juice.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Oltrepò Pavese DOC 'Noir' wine 2017, Tenuta Mazzolino

Intense, barely transparent ruby red with purple highlights on the edges. Consistent. The nose is intense with very spicy notes of sweet spices such as vanilla. Notes of violet, criollo, graphite, red tea, gentian stand out. In the mouth it is consistent, particularly elegant, savoury and with a well-presented, astringent but very elegant tannin that needs time. Great acid shoulder denoting good ageing potential and a very long vanilla finish.

oltrepo pavese pinot noir estate mazzolino

Province of Pavia IGT 'Blanc' 2019, Tenuta Mazzolino

It is an intense straw yellow with gold highlights at the edges, consistent. The nose is very delicate (far too much so for my taste) with barely perceptible notes of vanilla and pineapple. It recovers in the mouth with a very pleasant sip, a taste of pineapple, candied pear and orange peel. Structured, fresh and with a long, toasty finish. Definitely a 'mealtime' wine provided you choose low aromatic foods such as barbed fish with delicate flesh (such as gilthead bream) cooked in the oven, pan-fried in butter or steamed with little seasoning.

 oltrepo pavese chardonnay estate mazzolino

Although the weather in Pavia was not exactly 'encouraging', vineyards in fog always have a great fascination for me. And it was a really great experience! Thanks to Francesca and Stefano and good luck with their project to make a Wine Club for 'wine-loving people like them'.

A final thank you to Michela Mezzolo of ZedComm for always being impeccable!

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

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