Wine is more than natural: the creative genius of Hans Terzer and the new Appius
Wine is the result of the magical combination of many elements: nature, vine, terroir, but there is a factor which is too often considered as secondary, in particular in this latest fashion of “natural” wines. The human factor. People such as Hans Terzer from Cantina San Michele Appiano and other excellent enologists with their inspiration and their art are able to exalt what nature offers in an extraordinary way. They are like sculptors who pick up with care and gratitude a natural material and shape it to interpret a historical moment, a vintage, to stop in time something that is happening. This is, in my opinion, the meaning of Appius, a wine Hans Terzer has been producing since 2010 selecting the best of every vineyard and every vine of San Michele Appiano winery.
Hanz Terzer is one of the most renowned winemakers in the world; his vision, his rigor and his passion have led Cantina San Michele Appiano to be one of the most important wineries in Italy whose award-winning wines are present in the wine lists of the most important restaurants in Italy and in the world. How did a winery reach this prestige and success? I tell it in my book Custodi del vino, in the chapter dedicated to Alto Adige. In addition to reading this fascinating story, you can listen and watch the full interviews I recorded to write it in the Media section.
Back to the wine, Appius every year is different from the previous ones, even in the label, but it keeps as a single denominator the search for excellence starting from the grapes that are harvested from the best plants in the best vineyards of Appiano. Hans wants to interpret the best of every vintage.
Last night I had the honor of sitting next to Hans during the gala dinner for the presentation of the 2017 vintage: a difficult, edgy, turbulent harvest that we find in the tensions of this Chardonnay based wine. A wine that reveals itself little by little, intimidated perhaps by the prejudice it feels in us humans who judge the vintage not to be one of the best. But after an hour in the glass it gave a glimpse of a bright future, of chamomile, licorice, black olives and smoked beech, with fruity notes that slowly peeped out. A wine to keep in the cellar, like an artwork, because yes, wine is not only nature, it is also the genius of the one who thinks of it, shapes it and gives it to the world. Good wine is beauty in all its forms: wild, simple and naïve, but also sophisticated and wise. But always sincere, never artificial.
For more information about Appius visit their website https://www.stmichael.it