Wine by the Bay: Franz Haas

I recently went to Wine by the Bay during my quest for Orange wine, so I was happy to return this weekend for a tasting of wine from Alto Adige. Owner Stefano Campanini hosted Andi Punter and Sofia Haas from Franz Haas Winery for a lively evening of friends and wine.

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Established in 1880, the winery has been passed down for seven generations. They cultivate around 55 vine-planted hectares, subdivided among owners, renters and assignees. Franz Haas has always been a great enthusiast and champion of the region. He was actually one of the reasons the region became DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) recognized. About 1/3 of their production is Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) and only 30% of their production is exported, meaning 70% stays within the country for Italians to enjoy.

The funky labels come from a collaboration with the artist Riccardo Schweizer, who has painted with the likes of Picasso, Chagall, Cocteau, and Paul Éluard oder Le Corbusier.

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From the winery’s portfolio, we tried six varieties. I, unfortunately, didn’t take down detailed tasting notes, since I was busy enjoying the wine and company, but I did jot down a few things.

  • Pinot Grigio Dolomiti 2016 – Not your typical supermarket Pinot Grigio lol. It was lovely.
  • Pinot Bianco Lepus 2015 – It had a nice crispness and minerality to it.
  • Manna 2015 – An interesting blend of four grape varieties, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and a late-harvest Traminer Aromatico.
  • Pinot Nero 2015 – I usually don’t go out of my way for Pinot Noir, but this was lovely. It was very berry forward and elegant.
  • Pinot Nero single vineyard Schweizer 2011 – They bump up the quality even more for this Pinot Nero, skipping some vintages if the grapes are not up to par.
  • Moscato Rosa 2013 – Its production is very limited due to the low yield of the vine. The Moscato Rosa is not a late harvested grape or a Passito; it is naturally high in its content of sugar and is harvested when ripened well. It was nothing like I had tasted before.

It was a lovely evening and I even bonded with Andi about the fact that we both know Alois Clemens Lageder from Alois Lageder, just a 15-minute drive away from Franz Haas.

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I look forward to the next tasting at Wine by the Bay!

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