Elda (Schiava)

Alto Adige

85% Schiava/15% other. Known locally as Vernatsch, Schiava is a thin-skinned grape native to the Alto Adige and on the decline plantation-wise (about 200 ha. currently per Gloria Mayr). Nusserhof has a steep, certified-organic hillside plot of 90-year-old, pergola-planted Schiava vines on porphyry-rich volcanic soils a few kilometers from its home property in Bolzano. There are other vines mixed in, some identified as likely to be Lagrein and Merlot and the rest, both white and red, not identified at all. The fruit is manually harvested together, destemmed and co-fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Maceration lasts from 4-6 weeks. The wine is aged in 20-hectoliter French oak botti for about 20 months, bottled with a light filtration and aged up to 2 more years before release.

Named for vignaiolo Heinrich Mayr’s wife Elda, this Schiava is of a much more robustly tannic and joyfully aromatic character than is typical of the variety. The local Santa Magdalena DOC allows yields of up to 150 hl/ha, so the Mayrs opt out of it for this more structured and complex 30hl/ha beauty. “Elda” is classified as a Vino Rosso and thus cannot indicate grape or vintage on the label (a lot number discreetly indicates vintage).

91 points
"The 2014 Nusserhof Elda is a field blend, based on 90-year-old, pergola-trained Schiava grown to extremely low yields, with around 15% other varieties. The fruit is co-fermented with natural yeasts for four to six weeks, and then aged for up to twenty months in 20-hectoliter French botti. The first thing that stands out is the color, which is a vibrant yet translucent ruby with an amber hue. It leaps from the glass with a display of contrasts, being both incredibly savory, herbal and earthy, but also showing remarkable purity of fruit with bright citrus-tinged strawberry. Soft and vibrant, the Elda dazzles the senses with tart red berries and minerals, while also coming across as nearly weightless at times. There’s so much to like here, with even a hint of grippy tannin and spice that lingers. This is not your average Schiava."
Eric Guido,
Vinous Media
, November 2020

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