de Tarczal’s Marzemino d’Isera
West of the Adige River and south of Trento is where the grapes for de Tarczal’s Marzemino d’Isera grow. Here the soils are a nutrient-rich basalt, a volcanic rock. Marzemino, a grape whose history can be traced back to the 15th century as having been grown in Trentino, was once greatly favored among the aristocracy. In more modern times, the grape has been overshadowed by other regional varietals like Teroldego and Lagrein. Only a few non-cooperative, family-run estates, like de Tarczal, still bother to vinify it. A dark-skinned, late-ripening grape, the challenge historically has been to get it fully ripened and to prevent vine disease.
As you would probably guess by now, de Tarczal can trace its family history of making wine far back in time. An admiral in the Austro-Hungarian army, Gèza Dell’Adami de Tarczal married the Countess Alberti, whose family was well-established in Trentino, and the rest is wine-making history. Today their direct descendent Ruggero de Tarczal makes the wine and runs the winery which also houses a small restaurant serving regional specialities.
Apart from the wines TWH imports directly from Italy, the Italian wines we carry are purchased primarily from a select handful of like-minded local importers who prefer to champion small, family-run estates. One such importer makes biannual offers for wines that are either too limited or specialized to offer throughout the year. That is how the 2013 Marzemino d’Isera from de Tarczal came to our attention. Of the many wines poured that day, the Marzemino was one that I made sure had plenty left in the glass for the gang to try. I was captivated by the freshness and elegant fruit quality of this Marzemino. I had a strong hunch this wine would meet with approval, though I was still on the fence about ordering the wine for the store. After all, how often does someone come in asking for a Marzemino? Not often, I can assure you. Unusual or uncommon varietals aren’t ones we would normally shy away from, but still, you need to make smart buying decisions.
At any rate, the work day ended and I invited the crew to sample the day’s winners. The 2013 Marzemino was a hit as I suspected. The Loire-ish quality of the wine, with its strawberry fruit flavors and appealing herbal notes, met well with everyone’s palates. Though my notes included many emphatically underlined words, it was a comment by Pete that best summed up our collective thoughts on the wine. He said the 2013 Marzemino d’Isera “smells like someone buried a jellybean”! I love that image of a delicious confection buried underneath dirt and earth. This red really does exhibit a lovely, playful back and forth between its fruit and soil notes.
My daughter’s middle school has its Spring Break this week. We will be taking a much needed respite, high-tailing it out of town for some seaside rest and relaxation. I am looking forward to a change of scenery, some unscripted free-time and making new memories with friends. I will be bringing a few bottles along for the ride to enjoy poolside (that is if the rain doesn’t drive us indoors). Either way, I am so excited to be going anywhere, nothing is going to dampen my spirit! – Anya Balistreri