Treasures recently discovered in South Tyrol
Anton Longo from Neumarkt is garnering ever more attention for his extraordinary biodynamic wines. His challenge today is to combine what is worth preserving from the past with the needs of the present.
In 2012, he took over his family’s estate from his father, leasing the orchards to focus his work on viticulture. Three years later, he released his first wine.
By 2020 his entire production was certified organic. Moreover, production increased from an initial 4,000 to an impressive 80.000 bottles. Not only that, he also managed to tweak the elegance of his wines!
Let the wines evolve at their own pace …
… and the same is true of Anton Longo himself. Neither loud nor opulent, his wines are instead rather quiet and shy. Nonetheless, they show fruit, elegance, finesse, and balance. However, they all need time to develop, from fermentation to maturation in wood to time in the bottle itself. When opening his flagship wine, Liebenstein, a blend of old vine Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, he even recommends keeping it at least ten minutes in glass before tasting.
Terroir & Nobilis – the two Baron Longo wine collections
Emilio Foradori, the famous winemaker from Trentino and a friend of Anton, is convinced that both Baron Longo’s vineyards and his wines are treasures waiting to be discovered.
His twenty hectares of vines are all planted around the family’s small Villner Castle in Neumarkt between 270 and 1,000 metres above sea level. Not surprisingly, the soils are quite different, ranging from limestone and gravel to porphyry and moraine scree. The climate is typical for the alpine Dolomites, a symbiosis of cool mountain air and warm Mediterranean elements with corresponding diurnal temperature swings, which are important for the grape’s aromatic development.
About two thirds of the vineyards are planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. The smaller red portion is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Lagrein and Merlot.
Anton Longo classifies his wines in two distinct groups. What he calls “Terroir” consists of a white, red and rosé that bear the name Felix Anton. For him, the Urgestein, a pure Sauvignon Blanc, is also part of that selection.
On the other hand, the “Nobilis” collection contains the Langenstein, a pure Chardonnay, the above mentioned Liebenstein, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, as well as the Wellenburg, a Bordeaux blend made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. All three names refer to his ancestors and are still part of his full family name.
Either organic or nothing at all
Born in 1985, Anton Longo studied both agriculture and viticulture in Bolzano. In his constant search for innovative solutions, he counts on the support of experts, advisors and experienced organic winemakers such as his friend, Emilio Foradori.
The change to Demeter certified organic farming was thus simply a “conditio sine qua non” for Anton Longo. The same is true of spontaneous fermentations with natural yeasts, biodynamic implements, following the rhythms of the moon and his own compost made of horse manure sourced from his sister’s stables.
However, when speaking of biodynamics, he draws a clear line between his wines, which he defines as “close to nature”, and “natural wines” such as orange or raw wines.
For him, organic farming is one of the best tools available to face the pending climate change, with all its weather extremes, because it makes the vines stronger and more resistant.
Providentia, Fortitudo, Constantia is the family’s motto. Anton Baron Longo is now interpreting those words – foresight, courage and persistence – in his own way.
Felix Anton – white
Composed in thirds: Chardonnay for structure; Pinot Blanc for its delicate aroma; Pinot Gris for minerality. White flowers, timid fruitiness, on the palate finely structured and well balanced. Drink within three years of vintage.
Sauvignon Blanc from 2 vineyards, one at 270 metres and the other 1,050 metres above sea level. Hints of lemon and tropical fruits, finely structured with brisk minerality. Drink over the next three to five years.
Produced from 35 years old vines of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Complex aromas with hints of herbs and spices, balanced acidity. Drink over the next five years.
Felix Anton – rosé
100% Merlot from 35 years old vines. Hints of red fruit and spices on the palate. Drink within two years of vintage.
Single vineyard Pinot Gris. Spontaneous fermentation, twelve months in 500 litre oak casks. A pleasure now, but will hold for another three to five years
Felix Anton – rot