Rising Star: Mazzolino

Exciting New Wines from the Oltrepo Pavese

MazzolinonoirbottleWines from the Oltrepo Pavese have never gotten much attention outside of Italy - actually outside of Lombardy for that matter. This was for good reason and the light, often fizzy wines of region were only good for cheaply quenching the daily thirst of Milano and Genova. However, even the Oltrepo Pavese is not immune to the quality revolution sweeping over Italian winemaking.

Tenuta Mazzolino is blend of French and Italian culture and vines. This is easy to understand because you can easily have lunch at Mazzolino and dinner in France. The estate was purchased by the Braggiotti family in the 80’s and under the leadership of Sandra Braggiotti they have invested heavily in replanting vineyards and building a new winery. She then imported French enologists Jean Francois Coquard and Kyriakos Kynigopoulos as her winemakers and together with agonomist Roberto Piaggi they have created a formidable range of wines produced from chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and the star of the group pinot nero (pinot noir).

Recommended wines:

-Mazzolino: A bright, fresh and fruity wine from the local bonarda vine (their one nod to indigenous varietals). Fermented and aged only in stainless steel to preserve the zesty, fresh cherry flavors of this grape.

-Corvino: A complex and clearly varietal 100% cabernet sauvignon. Brilliantly colored and full of sweet fruit flavors. This is a forward wine that drinks well now and over the next 3 to 5 years.

-“Blanc” and “Noir” are the top wines of this estate. “Blanc” is an elegant and multi-faceted chardonnay that is a cross in style between Burgundy and Sonoma. Toasty oak aromas are evident in the nose and on the palate, but do not overwhelm the well-structured fruit as only 25% new oak is used. “Noir” is their premier wine and one of the most interesting pinot noir wines in Italy. The fruit is clean and brilliant yet offers layers of earthy complexity. Like the chardonnay this wine is a hybrid of Burgundian and New World styles. Once again only 25% new oak is used so the oak is a compliment to the lovely fruit, not a dominating flavor.