100% Lagrein. From the Mayrs' 40-to-90-year-old Lagrein vines around the winery. The grapes are farmed organically and harvested by hand. The rosato is a 50/50 combination of direct-press and saignée juice, fermented in tank with a pied de cuve made with native yeasts and aged in 20-hectoliter oak _botti _for at least a year before release (so the vintage is always one behind most of the rosé market). It is deeply colored, full-bodied, soft and spicy, with dark-cherry-cranberry fruit and a mineral spine, drinking more like a light red than most rosé wines.
"Kretzer" is the traditional Tyrolean name for this style, from the German word "kretze" (a woven basket used to separate skins from juice in a bygone era). Normally this word is prominently feautured on the label as it is included in the "DOC Südtirol Lagrein Kretzer" language. However, in the 2018 vintage, the wine was deemed "not typical" and did not receive the DOC, so the Mayrs bottled it as an IGT. They fight this battle annually, because its rosato has more personality and color than what is deemed "typical".
Nusserhof is situated in the South Tyrol mountains of the Alto Adige in extreme northern Italy, actually right in the regional capital city of Bolzano. It is owned by Heinrich and Elda Mayr, the family having worked the same land going back at least as far as 1788. Bolzano has grown explosively since WWII and has enveloped their property. The encroachment of civilization has certainly impacted but not deterred them. The winery’s name means “nut farm”, for the old walnut trees which used to line the path by the Mayrs’ house (until being cut down to make way for a bikeway). The wines feature indigenous local varieties exclusively.
The main vineyard is 2.4 hectares surrounding the family home. Here the Mayrs grow Lagrein, Teroldego and Blatterle. It is a flat site of sandy alluvial soils near the Isarco River. The farming is certified organic and the harvest is by hand. The vines are trained on wires, mainly in Guyot (plus a little in Casarsa). The family also owns one very small parcel 3 kilometers from Nusserhof: it is small, steep, rich in decomposed porphyry and is home to old, pergola-trained Schiava vines. The climate in the Alto Adige is warm due to the high elevation under the alpine sun, though balanced by cold nights throughout the growing season.
The cellar work is straightforward and traditional. Fermentation is natural. There is no temperature control. The reds are made with long macerations and long aging--a minimum of two and a half years—in French oak botti. All are then aged in bottle for at least two years before release. The ancient Lagrein grape is the mainstay. Nusserhof features its naturally dark, smoky, tannic, woodland-berry character to its fullest, never having succumbed to the fashion of more “international” style for this big red like many producers did in the 1970’s and 80’s. Historically, Lagrein was used mainly for rosato, not red, which is done here as well in a late-release, _botti-_aged version.
Wine critic Antonio Galloni summed it up well: "Nusserhof is one of the most remarkable estates I have ever visited. Located right in the center of Bolzano, it looks as if this bustling, growing city is literally going to gobble up the estate in any minute...Within the vineyards, all is calm. The fruit I tasted… is a testament to just how special this site is. And the wines? Well, they are pretty special, too…Nusserhof remains one of the stars not just of Alto Adige, but of Italy."