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4th April 2020

Time to drink the good stuff like there’s no tomorrow* #12

Franz Haas ‘Manna’ 2014
Südtirol, Italy 13%

I remember this astonishing white wine when it first arrived in Oddbins in the 1990s. If I remember the story (and I’m not 100% sure!) Franz Haas, one of the greatest producers of Pinot Nero in Italy and the seventh generation of his family to make wine, but definitely the most progressive, blended a white wine specifically to be able to go with every course of a meal prepared by his wife, Maria Luisa, a noted chef. The result is called Manna, being her family name, rather than a gift from heaven, although it certainly might be the latter

The wine is a unique blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc. Most importantly, you can taste the presence of each in the end result, which is a simply remarkable achievement. The whole is rich and lustrously textured with a gloss of honey and oak, subtle spices, notes of rose and honeysuckle, candied peel, lime marmalade, apricot kernel and blanched almond. It is almost ridiculously complex and runs the gamut of being as full flavoured as a white wine possibly could be, but without forsaking elegance and freshness, with a citrus sherbet finish that is, I guess, the contribution of the Sauvignon part. I imagine the blending each year is a painstaking exercise with much wine that does not cut it, not for not being good enough, but for not somehow managing to fit.

It’s a masterpiece of a wine, and is definitely an astonishing accompaniment for about as wide a range of food as is imaginable (chicken with mushroom and bacon, in cream, truffle, tarragon and mustard sauce in my case).
This and other of the estate’s labels were created by Riccardo Schweizer, who painted with Picasso, Cocteau and Le Corbusier among others, and was introduced to Franz by his wife, Maria Louisa Manna.

*There might be no tomorrow.


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