Trentino’s Top Wines
27 February 2007
Royal Opera House, London

 Map showing the location of Trentino

Trentino lies in northern Italy between Lake Garda and the Dolomites.  It is a small region with about 24,000 acres (9600 hectares) under vines, but there are over 6500 estates, with more than half have less than 2½ acres (1 hectare) of vineyards.  The number of growers means that cooperatives are important, producing around 83% of Trentino’s wines.  There are two main  DOCs in Trentino: Trento DOC and Trentino DOC. 

The DOC Trento, centred on the city of Trento, produces sparkling wines: around 7 million bottles a year are produced, accounting for over 40% of all classic method Italian sparkling wine. The DOC Trentino produces wines from Müller Thurgau, Marzemino, and (for reds) the Teroldego grapes, plus Vino Santo made from the Nosiola grape.

The semi Alpine climate means that wine production is dominated by whites, but reds and rosés account for around 40% of production.


2001 Brut Riserva Cuvée dell’Abate, DOC Trento, Abate Nero
This is a blend of 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir (with a hint of pinot bianco in there as well), and the resulting wine spends 14 months on its lees.
It was quite foamy when poured, but in the glass there’s remarkably little in the way of bubbles.  It has a fresh, lemony nose.  The palate has crisp, fresh, clean flavours.  Overall, it’s largely innocuous.  81/100

2000 Brut Riserva, DOC Trento, Azienda Agricola Balter
80% chardonnay : 20% pinot noir.  This has quite a peachy nose with some citrus notes.  Very precise palate initially, but a bit hollow on the middle and the finish.  82/100

2003 Barbanico, IGT Vallagarina, Azienda Agricola Balter
60% lagrein, 20% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, aged for 13 months in barriques.  A bizarre nose, felling a bit cheap and confected with a real green oak tinge.  Attractive, pleasant palate with several layers of flavours.  There is some interest here.  Very Good.  87/100

2001 Tridentum Millesimato, DOC Trento, Cesarini Sforza Spumanti
80% chardonnay: 20% pinot noir; the chardonnay is fermented in oak.  This has a very, very soft nose: very muted.  Very prickly on the palate with quite high acidity.  Very fresh and light.  83/100

NV Brut, DOC Trento, Conti Wallenburg
60% chardonnay : 40% pinot noir.  There’s lots of crisp pear fruit on the nose, and interestingly the pear fruit carries through onto the palate, the fruit fighting its way past the crisp acidity.  Good.  83/100

2004 Marquardo, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Conti Wallenburg
50% teroldego, 25% lagrein, 25% cabernet, aged for 12 months in small oak barrels.  A fairly attractive nose, with something a bit different to it: there’s some blackberry, red apple and beetroot, with a nice-ish perfume.  Very rich, silky attack.  Very clean and focussed with a nice balance.  The oaking is evident on the finish, but more in flavour, as there aren’t any oaky tannins.  Very Good.  87

NV Maximum Brut, DOC Trento, Ferrari F.lli Lunelli
100% chardonnay, aged for three years on its lees.  A very foamy appearance.  There are some very marked water biscuits on the nose.  A good, fairly full palate with a real creamy feel.  Quite easy.  A touch sweeter than many of the other Trentino fizzes.  Very Good+.  88/100

NV Rosé, DOC Trento, Ferrari F.lli Lunelli
Quite a deep salmon-orange colour.  Pronounced red fruit nose.  Nice focussed palate with very good balance.  Very good length.  Very Good Indeed.  89/100

1997 Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore, DOC Trento, Ferrari F.lli Lunelli
A big leesy, cheesy nose.  Full, very creamy palate, but there’s no real depth or character to it: there’s nothing behind the creamy lees to make it especially interesting.  Good.  84/100

NV Segnana Chardonnay Trentino Grappa, F.lli Lunellli
A lovely peachy nose.  Very smooth palate.  Nice, clean, with only some fire right at the end.

NV Segnana Solera Trentino Grappa, F.lli Lunelli
50% chardonnay, 50% red pomace (merlot and cabernet), aged in a solera.  Very nice nose, though quite cognac like.  Very, very smooth initially, this has a gentle richness.  Less direct and with more forward grapey fruit than often, and it’s also less lamp oily.  More rounded and in a more French brandy style than many grappas.

2002 Mach Riserva del Fondatore, DOC Trento, Istituto Agrario San Michele All’Adige
60% chardonnay : 40% pinot noir.  A light, zesty, fragrant nose.  Very light palate.  Elegant and fresh but a bit dull.  85/100

2004 Rosso Monastero, DOC Trentino, Istituto Agrario San Michele All’Adige
100% cabernet franc.  There are elegant black fruits on the nose with some chocolate and apricot kernels.  Good palate with nice poise initially, followed up by good ripe fruit and a nice fine-grained tannic texture on the finish.  Very Good+.  88/100

NV Schiava, Trentino Grappa, Istituto Agrario San Michele All’Adige
Quite a straightforward grappa nose.  Oily palate.  Not overly impressive.  This seems quite industrial in style.  79/100

1998 Riserva del fondatore 976, DOC Trento, Letrari, 12%
This is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, aged for at least 90 months on its lees.  It has a nice peachy-leesy nose.  Quite a complex palate.  It has nice, restrained fruit with a crisp biscuitty, yet also creamy feel.  Very interesting.  93/100

2003 Moscato Rosa, DOC Trentino, Letrari, 500ml, 14.5%
The nose has sweet, fragrant red fruit and old English roses.  On the palate, it’s less sweet than I would have thought.  It has a really nice floral elegance on the palate.  This would be lovely with a roast plum or marinated cherry dessert.  Very Good Indeed+.  93/100

2001 Brut Talento, DOC Trento, Madonna delle Vittorie
A blend of 80% chardonnay, 10% pinot blanc and 10% pinot noir.  Quite a raw, yeasty nose behind some stone fruit.  Fairly crisp palate.  Decent, but very dull.  Ok/Good.  80/100

2004 Bianco di Castelnuovo, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Castel Noarna, 13%
This is a blend of riesling, traminer, chardonnay and sauvignon: each variety is vinified separately and partly oak aged.  It has quite a subtle nose, but also rather interesting with some rich peachy notes.  Very good palate: very attractive and beautifully balanced.  Quite full and creamy, but with real character and depth behind.  Very persistent in the mouth.  Very Good Indeed.  92/100

2005 Müller Thurgau, DOC Trentino, Bolognani
Quite a big open, expressive nose with some creamy appley peas.  Full palate, but it’s distinctly unimpressive, lacking character and interest, and really very flat.  OK.  78/100

2003 Gabàn, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Bolognani
This is a cabernet-merlot blend.  It has a big, oaky, quite dirty nose with loads of tobacco.  Simple palate.  Massive tannins.  OK/Good.  80/100

2005 Ritratto Bianco, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Cantina La Vis
A chardonnay-pinot grigio blend.  It has an interesting, buttery nose.  Very good palate with nice depths.  Good fruit and balance.  Very good length.  Very Good Indeed.  89/100

2005 Maso Roncador, Müller Thurgau DOC Trentino, Cantina La Vis
A nice elegant perfumed nose.  Really good palate. Very expressive and focussed with super balance.  Really nice flavours with good fruit: some ripe stone fruit and some green fruit.  Very Good Indeed.  90/100

2004 Ritratto Rosso, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Cantina La Vis
This is a blend of teroldego and lagrein.  It has quite a funky banyard nose with a bit of a mushroomy sous-bois tinge.  Nice, attractive palate with some fairly fresh fruit, but also a nice structure and a certain leafiness.  88/100

2004 Chardonnay Maso Toresella, DOC Trentino Superiore, Cavit
A massive sweet buttery, oaky nose with a spirity edge.  The palate is full and food-friendly palate.  A bit monstrous.  This is very good, but in a pretty international, dull style.  86/100

2005 Marzemino Vaioni, DOC Trentino Superiore, Cavit
This 100% marzemino has sweetish black bruit, cherry, and a hint of violets on the nose.  There’s red, ripe fruit on the palate with a chocolately richness, but there’s a lovely balance too and very nice freshness on the finish.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.  94/100

2003 4V Quattro Vicariati Rosso, DOC Trentino, Cavit
This is a blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc with 30% merlot.  It has black fruits on a dusty oak nose.  Nicely balanced palate.  It has an sort of red fresh elegance.  Big finish with lots of tannins evident after.  Very Good/Very Good Indeed.  88/100

2005 Castel Firmian Müller Thurgau, DOC Trentino, Mezzacorona
This has a gently floral nose.  Light, yet interesting on the palate.  This actually feels like an English wine.  Good.  84/10

2001 NOS Riserva, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Mezzacorona
There are smoky perfumed black fruits on the rather undistinguished nose.  Much petter on the palate: it has great elegance and poise with nicely precise fruit.  Good structure and balance.  Very Good Indeed. 89/100

2005 Pinot Bianco Pergole, DOC Trentino, Azienda Agricola Longariva
A rich buttery nose with some caramelised peas.  Light, creamy palate with some some interest.  Good rich fruit, but a nice balance.  Very Good+.  87/100

2002 Marognon Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva, DOC Trentino, Azienda Agricola Longariva
There’s huge oak on the nose, completely dominating the nose and feeling really overdone.  On the palate, it’s immediately attractive.  But it’s very superficial and really, it’s just a big fruit bomb.  There are some interesting flavours in there, especially on the finish, but it’s so overdone on the oak and very forward fruit, that it has little attraction.  82/100

2004 l'Òra, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Pravis
Made from 100% nosiola, part of which is dried.  It has a nutty, perfumed nose.  Lovely palate: rich yet very complex and layered.  Huge length.  90/100

2002 Fratagranda, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Pravis
This is a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% cabernet franc and 10% merlot, aged for 12 months in barrique, followed by 12 months in bottle.  It has a nicely poised nose with some concentrated black fruit.  On the palate, it’s very good with quite ripe fruit with a sort of warming spice throughout.  Very rounded with decent balance.  Very Good Indeed. 91/100

1997 Arèle, DOC Trentino Vino Santo, Pravis
This is a 100% nosiola, aged for nine years in barriques.  It has a very delicate, sweet, almondy nose.  Sweetish and fairly direct palate.  Undoubtedly moreish, but it’s a bit sticky and ultimately a touch simple.  88/100

2005 Sortì, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Zeni
This is a blend of 85% pinot bianco, 10% Riesling and 5% sauvignon, which is aged for just one month in small barriques.  It has a very elegant nose with some pear and peach fruit and a hint of asparagus.  There’s quite a sweet impression in the mouth initially, with very rich fruit.  Then some acidity becomes noticeable, which really dries it out.  Very long and persistent.  Very Good Indeed.  92/100

2003 Pini, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Zeni
A floral, perfumed blackberry nose , and quite warm catty too.  Very attractive on the palate with a good combination of flavours.  Very open, with a lovely balance of flavours.  Very Good Indeed/Excellent.  94/100

2003 Pivier IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Cesconi
This is a 100% merlot, aged for a year in barriques.  It has weedy black fruit on the nose – very weedy and green.  Fairly full on the palate, but it’s pretty simple.  Very unimpressive.  79/100

2004 Sangue di Drago, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Marco Donati
A really perfumed nose with some restrained black and red fruit behind.  Very soft palate, feeling very well integrated.  Very precise and focussed.  It just feels luxurious and well made.  Really delicious.  Excellent.  96/100

2003 Gran Masetto, IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Endrizzi
100% teroldego, apparently made use amarone techniques.  A very perfumed chocolatey, slightly raisined nose.  Big, full, palate, but it has a fair balance.  Nice sweet fruit on the finish and good length.  Different, and I quite like it.  90/100

2004 Due Vigneti, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Fedrizzi Cipriano
A rich and perfumed nose, but it feels a touch overdone.  Rather odd palate.  Very doughnutty: a fair attack and a very good finish, but there’s a big hole in the middle.  82/100

2004 Mezum, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Azienda Agricola Redondèl
A very intense, glass-coating appearance.  Powerful, intense nose with big, gently perfumed, slightly minerally blackberry and cherry fruit.  Very attractive palate: this is a rich, velvety-textured wine with deep red fruit flavours and a black cherry finish.  Very Good Indeed+.  93/100

2004 Syrah, IGT Vallagarina, Azienda Agricola Vallarom
A smoky nose with sweet black fruit and a touch of face cream.  On the palate there is direct, precise, syrah fruit.  Overall, it has quite a simple feel.  Very focussed.   Lightish syrah and really just a bit simple.  86/100

2003 7 Pergole, DOC Teroldego Rotaliano, Villa Corniole
Quite a perfumed red and black cherry nose.  Initially there’s quite sweet fruit on the palate.  It’s quite caressing in the mouth, then it explodes with vibrancy and ends up feeling not entirely in balance.  80/100

2003 Gregioti, DOC Trentino, Villa Corniole
100% cabernet sauvignon.  This has sweetish black fruit on the nose with a touch of vanilla oak.  There are some sweetish cassis flavours on the palate, but then there’s a lean elegance which ends with a green spice-tannic note on the finish.  Very Good.  86/100

2005 Vigna Fornás, DOC Trentino, Vivallis, 11.5%
There are cherry, chocolate and mûre notes on the nose.  Very good palate: soft and easy but with a really nice character.  Lovely finish.  90/100

2005 Marzemino dei Ziresi, DOC Trentino Superiore, Vivallis, 12.5%
From older vines that the Vigna Fornás.  This has a rather closed nose, but you can sense some elegant red and black fruit and maybe some chocolatey prunes.  Very young on the palate.  Very focussed and deep and concentrated.  Pretty impressive, but it needs 5+ years.  Very Good Indeed+.  94/100

1995 Vino Santo, DOC Trentino, Fratelli Pisoni
There are sweet almonds on the nose, but with a nice floral elegance.  Sweet, but with a nice purity and elegance.  Quite a delicate floral character.  94/100

NV Stravecchia Grappa Trentino, Fratelli Pisoni
A light amber colour.  Not the most impressive of grappas.  82/100

NV Acqua di Giori, Grappa Trentino, Giori Distillati Trentini
Made from marzemino and teroldego grapes.  Pretty hideous über-bling packaging.  A really good nose.  Rather fiery on the palate, which was a bit disappointing after its initial fruitiness.  85/100

2005 43° Grappa Trentino, Marzadro
Made from seven different varieties, distilled separately.  Very attractive nose with some lovely grapey character.  This has a really good character in the mouth.  It has an oily feeling, but also good fruity flavours with the spirit coming only right at the end, and even then it’s well in check.  90/100

2004 Le Diciotto Lune Trentino Grappa Stravecchia, Marzadro
The different component varieties are aged in small barrels of four different types of wood.  It has a really lovely nose, very delicately perfumed.  Hugely attractive.  Very smooth on the palate, with a lovely rich, almost sweet caramelised peach and apricot flavour.  But so smooth and delicate too.  Very Good Indeed.  92/100


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Last updated: 24 January 2008