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Nusserhof—Heinrich Mayr, “Elda” Vino RossoSüdtirol/Alto Adige, Italy 2014 (750mL)  |  FREE Shipping on any 6 bottles!

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Nusserhof—Heinrich Mayr, “Elda” Vino Rosso Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy 2014 (750mL)

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I’ve never had a pair of handmade shoes, or a bespoke suit, but I have enjoyed many bottles of Nusserhof wine, so I know a little something about the pleasures of custom craftsmanship. Heinrich and Elda Mayr, whose tiny organic farm is within the city limits of Bolzano, 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, and especially today’s red, “Elda” is a handmade masterwork, and most bottles disappear almost instantly upon arriving in the US. But whenever we get a crack at some, we take all we can get, because there may be no better wine to illustrate what SommSelect is all about: Not only is this the antithesis of mass-market wine, it’s a wine which consistently elevates a local grape, Schiava (a.k.a. Vernatsch, a.k.a. Trollinger) to a level of profundity no one thought was possible—as in, a Grand Cru red Burgundy level of profundity. “Elda” is sourced from a single hectare of 90-year-old Schiava vines just a few kilometers from the Mayr home base in Bolzano. One hectare is just two-and-a-half acres, so there’s never much of this wine to go around, but we grabbed what we could. There’s no way we’re letting something this special get away, and there’s no way you should, either—this is a buoyant, aromatic, astonishingly pure red for those who know wine need not be expensive to be great.

For many of you, this wine’s label design will be instantly recognizable—as I said, we always have our eyes peeled for new Nusserhof releases—and the story behind it will be familiar. Heinrich Mayr’s farmstead in Bolzano has been in his family since the late 1700s, but where once an assortment of other farms surrounded it, now a modern city—the provincial capital of the Alto Adige, or Südtirol—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 zoom 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 Mayrs have about 2.5 hectares of vines right around their family home, hard by the Isarco River in Bolzano, but the parcel supplying “Elda” is located a few kilometers to the north, on a steep slope outside Bolzano which these days overlooks a highway. The soils are volcanic porphyry, rich in minerals such as feldspar and quartz, and while the predominant variety in the site is Schiava, there are a handful of other varieties (some not precisely identified) planted in the site that make up 15% of the “Elda” wine. The grapes are harvested together, de-stemmed, and co-fermented in stainless steel tanks, after which the wine spends nearly two years in 20-hectoliter French oak casks and a good two years in bottle before release. That’s an exceptional amount of aging time for Schiava, which is typically a lightweight quaffer consumed when young and fresh.

But as I said, “Elda” is an exceptional Schiava—truly like none other. Nusserhof’s reds, whether from Lagrein, Teroldego, or Schiava, always possess the kind of purity, energy and persistence only the most careful organic farming can deliver, and the 2014 edition of Elda is thrillingly true to form. There are some kindred qualities here to some of the great Alpine reds of France’s Savoie, although the floral/red fruit qualities also bring top-tier Burgundian Pinot Noir to mind. In the glass, the color is an appealing dark garnet extending to the rim. Its intense color and concentration belies a wine that is shockingly bright and juicy on the palate. Lip-smacking plum, red cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate fruit is tangled up with notes of rose petal, mountain herbs, and some more savory, dark-toned notes of black olive and tobacco. It is medium-bodied and tangy, with a floral finish that lingers much longer than is typical for wines from this variety. And, as the Mayrs seek to minimize the use of sulfur at bottling, this wine benefits greatly from at least 30 minutes in a decanter before serving—it’ll be a little reductive (oxygen-starved) at first, but once it has had a chance to breathe, hold onto your hat! Serve this in Burgundy stems at a cool 60 degrees with roasted chicken, pork loin, turkey (this would be a magnificent Thanksgiving red) or maybe some South Tyrol-style spaetzle studded with a little speck (smoked bacon). If you don’t know it already, this is a wine that will win you over for life. Enjoy!



Nusserhof—Heinrich Mayr, “Elda” Vino Rosso Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy 2014 - SommSelect

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  • CountryItaly
  • RegionAlto Adige
  • Sub-RegionBolzano
  • SoilVolcanic Porphyry
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendSchiava (Vernatsch) 85%, other local varieties 15%
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • OakNeutral
  • Service Temp.60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkNow-2030
  • Decanting30-60 Minutes
  • PairingTyrolean Spaetzle

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionAlto Adige
  • Sub-RegionBolzano
  • SoilVolcanic Porphyry
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendSchiava (Vernatsch) 85%, other local varieties 15%
  • Alcohol12.5%
  • OakNeutral
  • Production300 cases
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2030
  • Decanting30-60 Minutes
  • PairingTyrolean Spaetzle

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