Alto Adige—or Südtirol, as it is also known—does not seem Italian. The street names are primarily German, you are more likely to come across sausage and sauerkraut on a menu than tomatoes and basil, and your phone calls are more likely to be answered by an assertive “Hallo?” than a melodic “Pronto!” It is here in Bressanone (a.k.a. Brixen), less than twenty miles south of the Austrian border, that Manni Nössing runs his small winery amid the towering peaks of the Dolomites. Manni’s vineyards benefit from the mountain climate and steep slopes of glacial deposit that make up the Valle Isarco, the narrow valley to the northeast of Bolzano that is known for its fresh, aromatic whites.
Descended from a family of farmers, Manni has no formal training in viticulture or enology but seeks to learn from each vintage in order to produce wines that are capable of giving pleasure while also reflecting the terroir from which they originate. In 2000, he made the decision to start bottling his own wine instead of selling to a nearby co-op. Since then, he has increased his holdings to 5 hectares, all hillside vineyards at altitudes of 650 to 800 meters, planted to Kerner, Grüner Veltliner, Müller Thurgau, Riesling, Sylvaner, and Gewürztraminer. Kerner, a cross between Riesling and Schiava (a local red grape), represents half of his production and perfectly exemplifies the house style of precision, freshness, class, and minerality. While the climate in Alto Adige is certainly a colder one with snowy winters, Manni finds that due to his vines’ southern exposure and the region’s hot summers, the sun is enemy number one. “I want my wines to be drinkable,” he explains. With the belief that good acidity is the key to refreshing, balanced wines, he has recently stopped green harvesting and de-leafing his vines. “My grapes are happy in the shade,” he elaborated. “They are unhappy sitting in the sun all day”.
Manni’s desire to respect the land and emphasize terroir also applies to his choices in the cellar. All wines are vinified in stainless steel tanks to preserve the grapes’ delicate aromas, though 50% of the Veltliner sees a passage in neutral acacia barrels. After eight months on the lees during which the wines pick up additional richness and texture, they are ready to be bottled. The result is a range of wines that are a joy to drink while also exhibiting exceptional finesse and complexity, perfectly showcasing Manni’s passion for his land and the region’s pristine Alpine beauty. We are proud to welcome him on board as our first ever import from Italy’s northernmost province.