Pinot Nero Barthenau Vigna S. Urbano Alto Adige DOC 1995 – J. Hofstätter - Alc. 13% - is just about the best Pinot Noir which I have had from outside Burgundy and also one of my best buys (bin-ends picked up for €10/bottle). I thought that my previous bottle showed signs of fading but this one was in fine form showing medium body, elegant and pure but complex and tangy red and dark fruit with a lot of "griotte" cherry, still lively acidity, touches of minerals, good length and classical shape on the palate;17/20.
The quality of this PN is undoubtedly favoured by the Alpine climate of the Alto Adige but PN is grown as far south as Tuscany with decent results but rather sweeter and less lively, tangy and classy than this one. I remember an easily enjoyable Pino Nero Case Via 01 from Fontodi and another perhaps not quite so good from Marchesi Pancrazi, but neither were worth the prices asked (between €25 and 30). In fact it was Giovanni Manetti of Fontodi who, at a tasting, pointed me in the direction of the Hofstätter table to show me what PN is capable of achieving in Italy (Manetti's Syrah is much better and his Chianti and Sangiovese based Flaccianello della Pieve are amongst the finest).