In the vines at Pranzegg

"The Mystery of Pergola Wines"

We are taking advantage of a rare appearance in New York by Walter Speller to offer you a chance to learn about a fascinating and significant aspect of Italian wine. Walter is the Italian wine critic for JancisRobinson.com; he’s good company, super knowledgeable, and entertaining. We’ll taste a lot of very good and interesting wine, including some famous examples from Valentini and Emidio Pepe, and some, like Pranzegg and Monte dall’Ora, which should be famous. After a focused tasting we will get to enjoy the excellent pizza and other great food at La Pizza Fresca. All-in, a great bargain at $60 per person! Jamie Wolff

Very old vine pergola for Lambrusco, Casalpriore                                                                                           

 

The Mystery of Pergola Wines

Pergola, the ancient Italian system for training grapevines overhead on wires or wooden frames, has a serious image problem, mostly because it can produce very high volumes of fruit, which in turn makes insipid wine. Pergola has been especially discredited by wine textbooks and professionals alike; the thinking is that Italy only started to produce high quality wines once low, wired trellis systems like guyot (which is French in origin) were employed.

Pergola at Pranzegg                                 

What remains unsolved today is the mystery that pergola also produces many complex and serious wines, especially in the Alto Adige, Piemonte, the Val d’Aosta, and as far south as Sicily. In turn, a whole new generation has embraced pergola while rejecting training systems like guyot, in part because they consider pergola a crucial element of their region’s terroir and tradition. These partisans are the true custodians of pergola, defending its relevance by coaxing complex wines from it, even as it is still fast losing ground.

This master class delves into the mystery of pergola, how it became so maligned, and why its existence must be defended before it is too late. Twelve (or more!) gorgeous, complex wines sourced from all over Italy will take center stage in this master class. The wines will undoubtedly elicit the same reaction as from my international colleagues when I presented several of them in a seminar in Soave last May: total surprise that they are some of the greatest wines coming from Italy. These are wines that truly herald the post-modern phase in Italy’s vinous landscape, and which stand against the slavishly praised, technical and anonymous modernist wines of the past 40 years. Tasting is believing! Walter Speller

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