Feruccio Carlotto and his daughter Michela farm a tiny estate of several hectares in the Alto Adige town of Ora, south of Bolzano. The special of this village is Lagrein, a red grape that is native to the region, and these folks have it down. They chose to produce only one Lagrein Riserva that is aged in large oak casks. The vines are planted in a complex mélange of soil types dominated by igneous porphyry rock and complemented by limestone subsoil and a wide range of alluvial sediments and stones deposited here over millennia. You have never tasted Lagrein with this much finesse. It is a powerhouse of a wine with a very light touch—inky black, loaded with fruit, with a distinctive personality, and silky tannins. They also make a small amount of Pinot Nero that is made in a very fine, elegant style, with a feathery touch. It is from one of the best terroirs in the Alto Adige for Pinot Nero, the cru of Mazzon. Their 1997 was a revelation.
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant went for the Lagrein and were overjoyed to find the best Schiava they’ve ever tasted, albeit in tiny quantities. It is like free-run raspberry juice infused with rose petals with no tannin. They can understand why the locals drink it all up so they were pleasantly surprised when they were able to talk the Carlottos into selling a pallet to the United States. Unfortunately, there are not much of these finely crafted beauties to go around, but if you can get your hands on a few cases you will be experiencing some of the best of what Alto Adige has to offer the wine world.