Pictured: Borra Vineyards & Markus Wine Co. Winemaker Markus Niggli
Photo Credit: Fred Swan
Fasten your seat belt low and tight across your lap. Make sure your seat is in the upright position. The Markus Wine Co. Nimmo white wine is an international flight all by itself. The winemaker, Markus Niggli, was born and raised in Switzerland but, after several years working in the international travel business (naturally), he studied winemaking in Perth, Australia. His “Nimmo” is a Swiss-inspired blend of German grapes grown in Lodi, aged in French and American oak, then sealed in hock bottles. All this at Borra Vineyards, a winery best known for Barbera.
I tasted a three-year vertical of the wine last week. The current release, 2013, is 69% Kerner, 11% Gewürtztraminer, 10% Riesling and 10% Bacchus. Mr. Niggli began the very cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks with native yeast. After ten days, he moved the juice to barrels where it fermented dry. He prevented malolactic fermentation, then let the wine matured in oak barrels, 60% new, for nine months.
Kerner, a 1929 cross of Schiava Grossa [aka Trollinger] and Riesling, is Germany’s fifth most-planted white variety. It can offer grapey and herbal aromas, but Mr. Niggli harvests it very early, wanting only neutrality and high-acidity. Bacchus is a 1933 cross of Müller-Thurgau with a cross of Riesling and Silvaner. It’s most-used in cool climates such as Germany, England and Switzerland, making wine similar to Sauvignon Blanc but with floral overtones.
The 2013 Markus Wine Co. Nimmo is pale lemon-green in the glass. It’s nearly full-bodied, silkily textured and mouthwateringly fresh in the mouth (pH 2.70, TA 7.63 g/L). The nose and palate are pretty with restrained notes of white peach skin, pear, lemon pith, lime zest and a spray of white flowers, all framed by a core of minerality. Nimmo pairs sensationally with Fromager d’Affinois.