Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A stunning Pinot Bianco from the foothills of the Dolomites

A stunning Pinot Bianco from the foothills of the Dolomites

Franz Haas Lepus Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2021 13% ABV

RRP €27.99 64 Wine wineonline.ie The Vintry

Franz Haas was a consultant and scholar and also a founding member of the Comitato Grandi Cru d’Italia, whose objective is “to protect and augment the prestige of wine producers that have been making wines with the highest ratings for at least twenty years”. He was also, according to Vino Italiano, “one of the biggest and most respected brand names in the Alto Adige… Good wines across the board.”

The Alto Adige is in the north of Italy, bordering Switzerland and Austria. Italian is the majority language but not the only one spoken regularly here. Some 30% speak South Tyrolean German. The area is quite well known for its Pinot Grigio while Schiava, Gew├╝rztraminer, Chardonnay and Lagrein, also do well here.  Pinot Bianco is also a key part of the Franciacorta sparkling wine that is produced in Lombardy.

In whatever language you call it, the Haas family has quite a reputation on the area and I approached this Pinot Bianco with confidence. It has a bright shiny straw colour. Aromas are fruity and floral. Fruit too (ripe apples and pears) and floral on the supple palate, along with a pleasant spice and a close to piercing acidity, all leading to a rich and persistent finish. Fragrant and refreshing, with an elegant yet robust character, this is a versatile food wine. 

The wine can be served with a variety of dishes, ranging from meaty starters to pasta dishes, rice and fish with or without sauces, to light Asian and spicy curry dishes. Serve at 14-16 degrees.

The Haas family has been growing grapes in Montagna in the province of Bolzano for generations. However, it was only with Franz, who died prematurely in 2022, that they began to produce and bottle quality wines. Franz studied at Geisenheim in Germany before working as a broker of Italian wines in the German market. After several years, he took over the running of the family business.

Liberty paid him this tribute: Franz Haas went to tremendous lengths to grow quality grapes and strived to preserve the flavours of the fruit during winemaking. As a result, the wines that he produced are infused with great character, with purity and balance on the palate. To maintain the aromatic quality of his wines, Franz Haas bottled his entire production under screwcap from the 2018 vintage onwards. A revolutionary choice, he was one of the first Italian wine producers to have done so.

Very Highly Recommended.

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