Bollicine di Pirandello - Vigna Winselerhof
At the edge of the beautiful Strijthagerbeek valley, between Maastricht and Aachen, the hotel and 16th-century manor farm Winselerhof is part of the 'Oostwegel Collection'. The authentic hotel has 49 luxurious rooms, a refined Italian Restaurant Pirandello and the casual Luigi's Lunch Restaurant & Bar.
The restaurant is known for its high-quality Italian-inspired dishes with fresh, regional and organic ingredients. Some products come from the 7-hectare estate next to the hotel.
A small part of this estate is also used for grape cultivation. There are about 550 vines with Müller-Thurgau grapes, each of which creates its own sparkling bubble wine every year - Bollicini di Pirandello.
On 21 September, I was invited to help with the Winselerhof staff, the Wijngoed Fromberg team and a group of enthusiastic volunteers with the harvest of the new vintage of this Limburg bubble. A unique experience to finally help out in the vineyard.
After removing the nets that were stretched over the vines and consuming a good cup of coffee, we went to work with 15 people while the sun was shining. The perfect weather. Everyone got a pair of scissors and some a wheelbarrow where the grapes were laid. Since we had a pretty good summer, the harvest had to look even better this year than in previous years. However, it turned out that the harvest was less this year, told Carmen van Wijngoed Fromberg.
Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety which is also widely found in northern Italy and Germany. In 1882 this cultivar was developed by the scientist Hermann Müller from the Swiss canton of Thurgau. After research around the year 2000 it has been established that this is a cross between the Riesling Weiss and Madeleine Royale. With a worldwide planting of more than 40,000 ha it is a very successful cultivated grape. It is a grape variety that places relatively few demands on soil and weather conditions, making it suitable for use in this Limburg vineyard. The grape is ripe early and does well in a relatively cool climate.
After manual picking of this grape, the grapes are transported in crates to Wijngoed Fromberg which take care of the further vinification process. I visited the Wine Estate and was welcomed by Carmen Soomers-Wiertz, co-founder of the wine estate that started in 1991 with the viticulture on the slopes of the Fromberg.
The Winemaking process
The Pirandello bubble is made according to the traditional method (method Champenoise) just like Champagne from France and Crémant from Alsace, that is to say with a second fermentation in the bottle by adding sugar and yeast. After closing with a bottle cap and putting down the bottles, the alcoholic fermentation starts slowly and the bubbles (carbon dioxide) and secondary aromas of bread, toast and brioche which are also characteristic of Champagne. If there is no year on the bubble, it must rest at least 15 months. For vintage Champagne, it must rest for at least 3 years.
Carmen tells us that the second fermentation takes place in Germany where the bubble will also remain for fifteen months to get it’s taste. The bubble that is now poured is therefore not of the new harvest but of the year before.
My tasting notes: 87 TSW
Bright citrus color with fine persistent mousse.
On the nose delicate aromas of nectarine, citrus with hints of white flowers and brioche.
On the palate medium-bodied with nice freshness and acidity and in the aftertaste citrus fruit and a little bitterness.
More information about the estate of Winselerhof can be found on www.winselerhof.nl