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Mauro Merz – Winemaker

maurioPrior to joining Fontana Candida in 2001, Mauro Merz studied Oenology at the Istituto San Michele in Alto Adige, after which he spent some time producing sparkling wines at a firm in Trentino. When he came to Fontana Candida, he brought with him a new outlook on Frascati – a wine that had developed a reputation as having little complexity or subtlety – and sought to realize its true potential as something much more than just a commercial product. Merz, who says he takes a “purist approach” to winemaking, has implemented some truly unique methods at Fontana Candida: from planting alternative lower-yield varietals, to using late-harvest grapes, to employing partial drying techniques prior to fermentation. The result: a complex, beautifully made white wine that can withstand several years’ worth of aging – Luna Mater Frascati Superiore DOC.

As head winemaker for Fontana Candida, Mauro Merz is the driving force behind a movement dedicated to ushering in a return to the highquality, small-production wines of the past, albeit on a larger scale. Merz sees his mission as twofold: revive the wines of Frascati and update the image of the Frascati region. Since joining Fontana Candida in 2001, Merz has steadily implemented his vision to restore the typicity of Frascati wines and to combat standardization. “To be successful, you can’t be anything other than passionate about wine. My role is simply to create something from the collective labor of many hard-working and dedicated men and women.” That modesty, and respect for the land and its workers, has won Merz many accolades, including “Frascati Winemaker of the Year” (Espresso Guide to Italian Wines 2011). And in 2012, Merz was awarded the prestigious Cinque Grappoli for Luna Mater Frascati Superiore 2011 by the Duemilavini 2013 guide published by the Italian Sommeliers Association.

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