Introduction to the wines of Feudo Arancio
Barry Weinman: 4th June 2023
Grupo Mezzacorona is a grape growing cooperative in the Trentino region of Italy. It is remarkable for the fact that, after building a thriving wine business in Trentino, they diversified into Sicily in the year 2000.
They are now the largest grower in Sicily, with a remarkable 600 hectares under vine across two estates, with plantings completed between 2001 and 2006. All vineyards are now organically farmed.
Winemaker Maurizio Maurizi joined Mezzacorona in 2006 and gradually worked his way up to head winemaker for Feudo Arancio, the Sicilian label in the range.
The focus is on producing fresh, accessible and, importantly, affordable wines. In Australia, at least one of the major retailers stocks the range and the wines sell for around $20, which is great value for an imported wine. And the packaging is very smart too.
The wines are distributed by the Mark Leake from Authentic Wine Brands through the Single Vineyard Sellers portfolio.
Mezza di Mezzacorona – Italian Glacial Sparkling – NV. A blend of chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau and pinot noir, made in the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation occurs in large stainless steel pressure containers prior to bottling.
Here, the aim is for freshness., with at least four bottlings per year to ensure that the stock is always fresh. As with NV champagne, the aim is to produce a consistent style from batch to batch and year to year. But there is also a fair bit of work done to the base wine in terms of battonage to build texture in the wine to add complexity and differentiate it from Prosecco.
The wine is quite neutral, but with gentle floral notes, a little green apple, and a touch of textural grip. This is fresh and lively and, whilst not complicated, is a delightful drink. Nicely judged dosage (only 8gm/l) adds to the balance and mouthfeel and there is decent length, supported by a touch of phenolics. 12% 91pts – $25.
Feudo Arancio – Grillo – 2021. Grillo is a very productive variety, so yields need to be managed carefully through shoot management and green harvesting to reduce the number of bunches on each vine. Final cropping was around 12 tonnes/hectare. To preserve freshness, the grapes were harvested at night, and refrigeration is used in the winery.
Here, the texture is more apparent than any overt flavours, though there are some stone fruit notes. The texture is supported by well-judged residual sugar and refreshing acidity. The finish feels quite dry and this would be well suited to food. 91pts – $25.
Feudo Arancio – Rosato – 2020. Made from Nero D’Avola, the juice for this is bled out of the tank after four hours, which allows the pretty colour to develop. The remaining juice is used for the red wine in the range.
Dry, with impressive intensity of fruit that reminded me of floral, rose-like characters. The palate has gentle grip and a savoury feel, while the saline tang adds interest and cries out for some food to accompany it.
The saline tang may be due, in part to the fact that this coastal vineyard has a very maritime climate and ranges from only 6 – 60 metres above sea level. 91pts – $25.
Feudo Arancio – Nero D’Avola – 2020. Almost purple colour. This is unmistakably Southern Italian in the way it combines savoury/earthy notes with ripe fruit. Strawberry and plenty of white pepper is supported by a gentle herbal lift. The palate is unoaked and fairly simple, but ticks all the boxes for a good value, easy drinking red that would be great with a slice of your favourite pizza. 90pts – $25.
Castel Firmian – Lagrein – 2021. A fascinating wine where the fruit is the main focus. There is excellent acidity and fine tannins which are quite soft, resulting in a wine that is very easy to drink. An excellent introduction to Italian wine for those who like a young, fruity Aussie shiraz.
Lagrein gives lots of colour and acidity, but lower tannins, so as a result the winemakers opted for extended maceration on seeds to try and extract tannins, to help stabilise the colour and add texture. Attention to ripening is given in the vineyard to ensure that the tannins are ripe and to ameliorate the acidity somewhat. 90pts – $30.
Mezzacorona – Maso di Mezzo – Teroldego Rotaliano – 2019. This is altogether more serious. Here, the tannins and acidity make their presence felt, keeping the fruit somewhat subdued initially. But with air, attractive black cherry and current notes build, supported by gentle spice/minerality and a chewy, textural finish. Excellent value. 93pts – $35.
Rotari – Flavio – Reserva – Blanc de Blanc – 2013. 100% Chardonnay, this opens with creamy vanillin hints, stonefruit (peach) and brioche/lees notes. The lees characters are remarkably integrated given the extended time on lees (9 years). This is quite delicious. There is richness to the fruit up front, but this gradually gives way to refreshing acidity and supple textural grip. A serious wine with excellent length and persistence of flavours and lovely texture.
Made in an extra-brut style, remarkably, this has less than 2gms/l of dosage. It comes from the Trento DOC in the Trentino region and is made using the Methode Champenoise. 50% of the fruit saw barrel ferment and malolactic fermentation. Disgorged in 2022 and only 3000 bottles produced. 94 – 95pts – $80.