Alto Adige, Italy, March 4, 2019: Get ready to add a new style category to your Pinot Grigio lexicon: “Riserva Alpine” Pinot Grigio. Fans of Peter Zemmer prize the winery’s flavorful, yet vibrantly fresh alpine wines. Now, this star producer from North Italy’s Alto Adige is about to up the ante with the March 2019 U.S. debut of Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” (pronounced Ghee-AT-uhl) 2016 — a glorious vintage for this alpine region.
Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” 2016 Alto Adige DOC, (SRP $38), is imported by HB Wine Merchants, New York, NY, and confirmed for release in in 19 states, plus DC: CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, WA and WY.
Peter Zemmer is the only Alto Adige producer with Riserva certification for Pinot Grigio. Thus, Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” 2016 becomes the Alto Adige’s first and only DOC Riserva Pinot Grigio, and one of the few top-of-the-line mountain-style Pinot Grigios from anywhere in the world. Alto Adige DOC regulations require a minimum 24 months’ aging before release; to put that into context, neighboring Trentino requires just 12 months of aging.
Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” will up-end your preconceptions: piercingly fresh, yet dense with flavor, this is a serious Pinot Grigio. Memorable when young, it will also reward cellaring to bring out its full complexity and richness. Its pedigree is impeccable: Peter Zemmer is one of the Alto Adige’s most respected wine-growers, running the eponymous winery founded in 1928 by his great-uncle in the tiny 600-person village of Cortina.
“Giatl,” meaning “little property” or “little vineyard” in the local dialect, refers to a nearby hamlet of the same name. The wine originates in “Grand Cru” terroir south and southwest of the village, a half-moon-shaped outcrop rising 13- to 16-feet above the surrounding area. The site spans 24 acres, of which two-thirds are owned or leased by the Zemmer family. Grapes come from the best six acres, four parcels with vines ranging 15- to 30-years in age. Here, instead of the sandy soil prevalent in surrounding vineyards, sand, shingle and chalk dominate. Heat-storing rocky sediment facilitates a longer hang-time. High chalk content gives otherwise poor soil the optimal pH value for nutrient intake by the vines. Lastly, those seemingly trivial extra feet of height enable the vines to capitalize on the benefits from the “Ora,” a breeze from the south that blows throughout growing season afternoons, refreshing grapes and keeping disease at bay.
As a master viticulturalist, Peter Zemmer has also done his bit to help nature along by grafting vines onto a rootstock that slows growth and reduces yields.
Fruit from this special site enjoys unique – and we mean that! – handling. Before pressing, grapes undergo a short, cold maceration to enhance the fruitiness of the finished wine. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in French oak barriques and 460-gallon casks, with Zemmer one of very few producers to vinify Pinot Grigio in wood casks. The wine is then stored in the latter for a year, followed by six months’ aging on the lees in stainless steel, gently absorbing the goodness of the lees and slowly acquiring complexity. After bottling, a six-month rest completes the process — or perhaps, not, since the “Giatl” Pinot Grigio cuvée is a wine that after six-to-eight years’ cellaring will continue to evolve in the bottle.
Once the bottle is opened, the first noticeable difference is the color. No watery-pale Pinot Grigio is this! Instead, expect a beautiful straw- / golden-yellow. On the nose, look forward to a wide array of aromas, from ripe pear to tropical fruits. And, finally, the rich, but juicy, palate has an intriguing savory component.
This category-defying Riserva Pinot Grigio cuvée is presented in a Burgundy-shaped bottle, with a white and gold label proudly displaying Peter Zemmer’s ”Z” distinctive trademark.
Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” Alto Adige DOC 2016: SRP $38/750 ml bottle / Imported by HB Wine Merchants, New York, NY
Effective March, confirmed to roll out in 19 states, plus DC: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wyoming
Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” vineyard