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HB Wine Merchants Introduces Voerzio Martini: New Estate in Piedmont’s La Morra District Makes U.S. Debut

New York, NY, April 12, 2018 – HB Wine Merchants is proud to introduce the Piedmont estate Voerzio Martini, the latest addition to its steadily expanding portfolio of top European estates. Now making its 2018 U.S. debut, the family-owned winery in La Morra, a sub-zone of the Barolo DOCG, accounts for 30 acres of vineyards, including just shy of five acres in La Morra’s prized La Serra Grand Cru. In descending order of acreage, plantings of Nebbiolo, Moscato, Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Freisa result in seven wines and a combined output of around 60,000 bottles annually. U.S. Importer HB Wine Merchants is so convinced of the quality-price ratio represented by the Voerzio Martini wines that it has taken on the entire portfolio — a rarity in the wine business.

  • Arneis  SRP $21
  • Barbera SRP $29
  • Barolo SRP $85
  • Dolcetto SRP $21
  • Freisa SRP $23
  • Nebbiolo SRP $30
  • Moscato SRP $21

“Voerzio” references Gianni Voerzio, whose family has made wine in the area since 1950. The original Voerzio family holdings were split in 1987, when brothers Roberto and Gianni opted to go their separate ways. Gianni went on to farm 17 acres in La Morra. Lacking children or heirs, he sold the property in 2012 to Piero Martini, a fellow Piedmontese, who bought it for his children, fraternal twins Mirko and Frederica, after liquidating his 50% stake in Piedmont’s hugely successful Sant’Orsola winery (annual production upward of 7,500,000 cases, chiefly sold in Europe).

Gianni Voerzio was invited to remain involved for a further three years, to assist the transition to winemaker Mirko and his sister Federica, handling marketing and admin. Born in 1992, the twins are especially grateful for Voerzio’s institutional memory.

Under the twins’ stewardship Voerzio Martini is transitioning to fully organic and reintroducing a massal selection when replanting. Green harvest has been instituted across the board, and all grapes are hand-picked. The winery has a new bladder press and more changes are planned. But whatever the changes, the focus is 100% on terroir, quality and estate-bottled wines.

With a back-to-the-future mindset, Mirko and Frederica are dialing back on Gianni’s late-20th century approach in favor of a reduction in new oak, larger barrels, and an emphasis on vineyards over the winery. One widely-used traditional practice is, however, being jettisoned: “scasso” involves digging 6-1/2 feet down into the soil and mixing the lower and top layers. Nutrients from below are now more easily available to the plant, and, incidentally, enabling the young vine to start producing fruit in three versus five years. But, more recent thinking is that valuable micro-organisms from below die once they are moved closer to the surface. So, not all “old” ideas are being adopted.

The Martini twins have embraced a Burgundian style and approach, with an emphasis on bottling single vineyards. Making more single-vineyard wines is on the cards thanks to the  recent purchase of another 2-1/2 acres in La Morra in 2012 and 1.23 acres of the Barolo Cerequio Grand Cru in January 2018. The latter is a significant coup: totaling just under 60 acres, Cerequio vineyards rarely appear on the market, and when they do, competition is intense. Additional acquisitions are in the pipeline.

Voerzio Martini’s eye-catching labels are designed by local artist Gianni Gallo. Each depicts a different flower native to Piedmont.

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