POJER & SANDRI'S LATEST PROJECT: GRUMES in the Val di Cembra The Maso Rella Farm & The Story of Infinite Zero

Having completed the task of planting and cultivating vineyards in the Cembra Valley site of "Maso Besleri," Pojer & Sandri is now tackling a new challenge: "Maso Rella," also in the Val di Cembra, specifically in the village of Grumes. This location is a mere 11 kilometers (as the crow flies) from the winery in Faedo. But to actually get there by car, you'll drive about 30 kilometers over the course of 40 minutes (Mario Pojer says he can get there in less than 30!) We were able to consolidate a number of parcels to assemble this new project. Some of the terrain had been devoted to vineyards and some to other agricultural and farming pursuits. Much of the land has been neglected for the past 50 or 60 years, though, from a farming perspective. At the highest portion of the Cembra Valley, one finds extensive acreage covered in forestland, while at elevations ranging from 300 to 800, or so, meters, there are terraces which can (and do) accommodate vineyards. The region has perhaps 400 kilometers of stone walls in and around this challenging agricultural terrain. We have reclaimed some old sites which we know had been devoted, once-upon-a-time, to grapes and we have re-planted vineyards. In other places which were less conducive to grapevines, we've planted trees, including chestnut, walnut and "Mountain Ash" (a tree we call "Sorbo" and the fruit from these are called Rowan berries) among others. For the vineyards, we currently have 5 hectares planted and this will increase to perhaps as many as 25. The grape chosen for this site is a bit of a rarity, a variety called "Solaris." This grape variety was created in Germany at the research and development school at Geisenheim and there are scattered plantings of this in various European locations, including Scandinavia and Great Britain! There is a bit of confusion regarding the precise parentage of the Solaris grape, as some of the breeding varieties were themselves hybrids. One of the parents is "Merzling" (itself an earlier hybrid which features Sevye-Villard 5276 and a cross of Riesling and Pinot Gris) while the other side of the family is a variety with the odd name of Gm 6493, a hybrid of Zarya severa and Muskat Ottonel. The former is a "wild" Asiatic grape variety hybridized at a Viticultural Institute in Russia while the latter is a Vinifera variety. Nonetheless, Solaris is viewed by viticultural experts as a "Vinifera" grape. The Solaris vine is quite hardy and not only is disease resistant, it also thrives in cool and cold climate vineyard sites. The grape was 'designed' to be able to resist the ravages of Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew and other vine and grape maladies. The vine is precocious and this bodes well for our cool climate Val di Cembra. And it means ZERO fungicides for vineyard treatments. We will be able to cultivate these vineyards in a most holistic fashion. Using pheromones to create "sexual confusion" with potentially harmful insects, we will require ZERO insecticides, as well. Situated at 800 to 900 meters above sea level, our vineyard site is further protected from breezes and winds from neighboring properties, thanks to 50 hectares of forest land that surround Maso Rella. We will not be impacted by neighbors spraying chemical treatments on their vines, due to the isolation of this beautiful place. ZERO drafts or breezes. Our winemaking, then, will continue the "Zero Theme." ZERO sulfur additions and ZERO cultured yeast at the start of fermentation. ZERO clarification treatments and ZERO filtration and ZERO anti-oxidants (the spent yeast from the indigenous yeast fermentation acts as a natural anti-oxidant). Using a traditional and time-honored method to produce sparkling wine, with its natural sediment, the resulting bubbly has ZERO chemical treatments. And so we've chosen to name this wine "INFINITE ZERO."

This allows the consumer to determine if they wish to decant the wine off the natural sediment which forms following the secondary fermentation or to shake the bottle and re-distribute the yeast with the wine, allowing for the enjoyment of a more peasant-like, rustic sparkling wine. We've enjoyed this wine served both ways. In fact, we've found a culinary use for the sediment of a decanted bottle of INFINITE ZERO: incorporate this 'deposit' or sediment into a risotto in the early stages of preparation. The sediment contains organic acids, yeasts and Cream of Tartar (essentially the 'salt' of the wine), allowing for the risotto to be made without the addition of table salt (sodium chloride). Of course, you might still prefer your risotto with a pinch of salt! We embarked on this mission in 2007 and with the 2013 vintage, we will be producing INFINITE ZERO on a regular, commercial basis. In the interim, though, we've been producing experimental, "micro-vinifications" of this wine, not to mention numerous plates of risotto!

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