Nusserhof (Heinrich Mayr), “Tyr…..o” Vino Rosso
Nusserhof (Heinrich Mayr), “Tyr…..o” Vino Rosso

Nusserhof (Heinrich Mayr), “Tyr…..o” Vino Rosso

Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy 2014 (750mL)
Regular price$49.00

Nusserhof (Heinrich Mayr), “Tyr…..o” Vino Rosso

I’ve said it many times: Wines are like people—it’s what’s inside that counts. The key to today’s discovery is to look past the somewhat confusing (if beautiful) label and get to the mesmerizing juice inside. This is an impeccable, utterly unique red with nearly a decade of age, pulsing with energy and oozing class—a blue-chip collectible hiding behind some unfamiliar language and a too-modest price point. Longer-term subscribers to SommSelect may recognize the name Heinrich Mayr and that of his farmstead in the heart of Bolzano, Nusserhof, because we never pass up an opportunity to showcase his incredible wines. Today’s offer is the first time we’ve offered his vino da tavola (table wine) called “Tyr.....o,” which is so labeled because it’s made from a variety (Teroldego) that is more readily associated with neighboring Trentino. Mayr changed the spelling of the variety to Tyroldego (a cheeky reference to his South Tyrol homeland), but now avoids direct mention of the variety altogether, bottling it as a VdT and thus not including a vintage date (that is encrypted in a “lot number” on the back label). But, like I said, forget all this skullduggery and just taste this magnificent, soulful, beautifully balanced red. It not only ranks among the very best expressions of the Teroldego grape but exhibits more “breed” than any $49 bottle of wine has a right to. I cannot hype it up enough: It may not look or sound like it, but this is an Italian wine benchmark.

Heinrich and Elda Mayr, whose tiny organic farm is within the city limits of Bolzano, the regional capital of the Alto Adige, are the wine equivalent of that Italian cobbler or tailor who, working out of a modest storefront in Bologna or Naples, is sought out by discerning clients from all over the world. Each one of Nusserhof’s wines is a handmade masterwork, and most bottles disappear almost instantly upon arriving in the US. The farm has been in Mayr’s family since the late 1700s, but where once an assortment of other farms surrounded it, now a modern city has literally grown up around it. Their 2.5-hectare vineyard and family home is now a verdant oasis within a decidedly urban environment. High-speed trains whizz past the vineyard’s eastern border, the farm’s walnut trees (for which the winery is named) were cut down to make way for a bike path, but still, Heinrich and Elda Mayr persist. All farming on the Nusserhof property is Certified Organic, and includes not just the local grapes but lots of vegetables and fruit trees.

The amount of Teroldego in the four hectares of Mayr vineyards amounts to just a handful of rows, but what’s there has an average age of about 30 years. The soils in the Bolzano basin are, given the tangle of rivers that meet up there, a very “alluvial” mix of sand and river stones infused with minerals like quartz and feldspar. And while the production of this bottling is predictably tiny, it gets the full Nusserhof treatment: It is fermented on native yeasts and incorporates about 30% whole grape clusters during a maceration that lasts several weeks. Unlike Nusserhof’s other reds, it is aged in used Burgundian barriques, but as with the other reds, the élevage is quite long: more than two years in barrel, followed by another lengthy rest in bottle before release.

Given this regimen, it’s safe to say that this is already a beautifully balanced, ready-to-drink wine, blessed with a silken texture and profound mineral depth. There’s a Bordeaux-esque graphite note complementing the riot of purple/black fruits that Teroldego is famous for: black plums, mulberries, and pomegranate seeds, mixed with lots of mountain-herb notes, dark soil, tar, licorice, and a hint of camphor. Despite its inky color, it is not a monolith—it is just a little north of medium-bodied, with freshness, more so than tannin, the thing that will preserve it for another 10 years at least. I guess if I were trying to place it in context for a newcomer I’d describe it as a Rhône Syrah-Bordeaux mashup (DNA sequencing has shown Teroldego to be a direct sibling of Dureza, one of the ‘parent’ grapes of Syrah, so I’m not insane). Just do yourself a favor and decant a bottle of this about 30 minutes before serving in Bordeaux stems alongside something simple, rustic, and satisfying. Let the wine provide the fireworks. This one’s more than up to the task. Enjoy!

Nusserhof (Heinrich Mayr), “Tyr…..o” Vino Rosso

Daily Discovery

Build a Case is a one-of-a-kind subscription service that allows you the freedom to explore our expansive wine selection and consolidate your orders into a custom case over time — without the cost of shipping.
View all