TrentoDOC Focus II - Two Dosaggio Zero Wines

TrentoDOC Specialist Maso Martis in Martignano

The idea that sparkling wines without dosage offer the purest, most transparent insight into the character of a producer is an attractive one. If you hold that sugar is a mask, or 'make-up' designed to hide deficiencies, it just makes sense, right? The trouble is that the wines are very difficult to make; they are hard to balance, with phenolics/bitterness and acid all sitting at one end of the see-saw, wondering what will be at the other end. Will the texture feel complete? Will there be a perception of sweetness from fruit quality, lees ageing and freshness? Any hopes of some sort of individual expression (of place, of style, of vintage) rest on that fundamental balance being in place.

The more I taste, the more I see why there is a lot more to these wines than just acid/sugar balance. That freshness is so, so important, and is the reason why many excellent Zero Dosage wines do not go through malolactic (something it took me a while to get my head around). There is also a large question mark hanging over age-worthiness -  it is worth reading this article by Tom Stevenson to get a perspective on why this might be. Is is solely down to the lack of sugar? Probably not. Combine a lack of sugar with low (or no) sulphite addition at disgorgement and you're asking for trouble, though!

These two wines were a case in point. One was tiring at only 8 months post-disgorgement, whilst the other was lovely but wasn't going to get any better than it was at 4 months (and was probably going to decline over the next 6). Those are hardly lengths of time most would even consider 'ageing'.

One other point of potential interest: the first was sealed with natural cork, the second with a DIAM Mytik agglomerate cork. Oh, the technical hoops sparkling wine producers have to jump through to get these wines to us in peak condition...

Maso Martis Dosaggio Zero Riserva 2014

Probably a December 2018 Disgorgement?

70% Pinot Nero, 30% Chardonnay. This claims 36 months on lees (but is probably longer). A sweet, white fleshy character of white peach and juicy pear opens things up. Nice lift from orange oil and anise balls, but also a slightly dried-out hay-like character mingles on the palate with a chalky, carbonic hollowness. There is a good wine in here and I'll certainly look out for more from this producer, but this bottle has tired quickly. 82/100

Cembra Ororosso Dosaggio Zero NV

A well-made, fresh example from a producer of still and sparkling wines

100% Chardonnay with 60 months on lees. This is lovely on the nose, refined and composed with fresh yellow fruits (yellow apple, sweet papaya and starfruit) tinged with Thai basil. There are some classy autolysis flavours here; nut milk and oyster. It's really breezy and attractive, but with a serious side. The palate is fairly benign in comparison; it avoids heaviness or prominent phenolics and is pleasingly airy and bright, it a little diffuse. Quite low acidity. Well-made example 86