Wines of the Week: Maeli & Burn Cottage

Maeli 2020 Fior d’Arancio Colli  Euganei 93
Burn Cottage 2021 Pinot Noir Moonlight Race Central Otago New Zealand 91
by Ian D’Agata

Maeli 2020 Fior d’Arancio Colli  Euganei              93

Maeli in Veneto is Italy’s best producer of Moscato Giallo Fior d’Arancio wines. This variety’s wines fall somewhere in between the lighter-bodied, highly perfumed wines made with Moscato Bianco and the richer, more tactile wines made with Moscato Giallo. And while the former variety is grown all over Italy and the latter only in the Italian north and northeast (Lombardy, Trentino, Alto Adige Veneto and FVG), Moscato Fior d’Arancio (some experts do away with the “Giallo” entirely so as to further highlight that it is a distinct variety from Moscato Giallo: in other words, it’s not a biotype of it) only grows in the Colli Euganei area of Veneto, not far from the city of Padova (where, if you are into art,  you’ll find the famous Cappella degli Scrovegni). The mostly volcanic soils (with good percentages of marl and loam) allow for an especially deep and complex wine to be made, one that is recognizably different from any other Muscat wine you might have tried before. The estate, founded in 2011, is managed with passion and talent by Elisa Dilavanzo, who makes a bevy of great wines with the variety (including a Pet-Nat, a Passito, various sparkling versions, and a still wine). And while her red wines are excellent too, it’s the Moscato Giallo Fior d’Arancio entries that really turn heads.

The Maeli 2020 Fior d’Arancio Bio Colli  Euganei is superb. Bright golden yellow. Lemon curd, orange jelly, and tangerine aromas and flavours are lifted by hints of white flowers (jasmine, magnolia) as well as yellow flowers (broom, acacia). At once mellow and lively in the mouth, with a subtle balance of residual sugar (98 g/L r.s.), harmonious acidity (5.8 g/L total acidity, 3.6 pH), and saline nuances that leave an impression of impeccable balance and drives you to have another glass immediately after the previous one. The interplay between sweet and saline nuances and its lovely freshness means this wine performs wonderfully in many different settings, be it as an aperitif, with Asian foods and lightly spicy dishes in general, and with desserts. This is made with certified bio/organic grapes (100% Moscato Giallo Fior d’Arancio) picked from 12-25 years old vines grown at 250 meters asl, Drinking window: 2023-2026.

Burn Cottage 2021 Pinot Noir Moonlight Race Central Otago New Zealand                        91

You taste a wine like this one and you immediately realize why nobody hates New Zealand Pinot wines. Simply put, the things are easy to drink, joyously fruity, offer uncomplicated aroma and flavour profiles, and are extremely approachable. Really, what’s there not to like? And so it is that the Burn Cottage 2021 Pinot Noir Moonlight Race offers more of the same, and you’ll hear no one complaining.

Medium-deep bright ruby colour. Blueberry, mulberry, thyme, candied lavender and violet soar from the glass. Then similar flavours in the mouth, with a fruit cocktail of dark berries and subtle herbs greeting the taste buds and lingering nicely on the creamy but fresh finish that offers a slowly-building savoury undertone. Spends about twelve months in oak (25% new). This is a very pretty Pinot Noir: lovely, juicy, and vibrant, it is made by sourcing fruit in two north-facing vineyards (Burn Cottage Vineyard in Lowburn and Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn planted at the south end of the Pisa Range in Central Otago’s Cromwell basin). Drinking window: 2024-2029.


Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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Ian D'Agata