93 POINTS: VINOUS - This is far from your typical warm-vintage Pinot Nero. The 2017 Blauburgunder Riserva hails from a vineyard planted by Ignaz Niedrist in the 1960s. Today, these low-yielding vines average around thirty years old. Its bouquet is flat-out stunning, mixing bright strawberry and cherry with hints of confectioners spice, perfumed rosy florals and hints of undergrowth. Its silky textures are perfectly contrasted by tart red fruits and salty minerals, plus a note of sour citrus and savory herbs, which adds further depths. I’m not finding much in the way of youthful structure here, but frankly, there’s enough balance and verve to provide many years of wonderful drinking pleasure. After a two-week maceration, the Riserva ferments and ages in barriques (only 25% new) for twelve to fourteen months. It’s a beauty.
MISSION NOTES: Ignaz is a brilliant grapegrower and winemaker with an impish smile; he makes a wide range of varieties with consistent style and attention to detail, from the stoney, mineral Pinot Bianco to a lush, musky Sauvignon; his reds represent the whole range of typical red varieties grown here, from the pale reddish pink of Schiava to the inky purple of Lagrein. This Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir) comes from Alto Adige—Italy’s best region for the production of Pinot Noir—and Ignaz Niedrist is one of its best producers. His Riserva bottling is grown in relatively warm vineyards near his winery. Yields are kept very low, at less than 2 tons to the acre. The grapes are de-stemmed, crushed, then left at cold temperatures for a few days (‘cold soak’) before fermentation starts in wooden fermenters. No yeasts are added. The wine is aged in barriques (1/4 new) on the fine lees for about 14 months before bottling. Classic color for the variety, pale red with a broad rim. Aromas and flavors of red fruits, forest-floor, cola and mint. Shows a silky texture with some tea-like tannins on the finish. Drinkable young but will repay aging for 5-10 years in your cellar. Lamb chops or roast chicken would be great complements.