Eleven generations and going strong
The photo of young (23) Franz Haas may be a bit blurred but it’s not just the light; this eighth-generation Franz Haas is running to keep up with his famous father, winemaker par excellence Franz Haas (VII).
Since 1896 a Franz Haas has been making wines commercially in the Sudtirol, that part of Italy’s Alto Adige where German and Italian blend into one. And there were three generations making family wines prior.
Like the land, Franz Haas VIII is a man of many cultures.
“My mother is Italian and my father is German,” said the personable Franz the 8th in his well-spoken English ( he also is fluent in Spanish). “Until I was 5, I spoke Italian to my mother and German to my father.”
He laughed unassumingly when he told a visitor to “Put a ‘V’ in there, then the III.”
It wasn’t so hard being a two-language family, he offered to a curious visitor.
“When you are young, it’s much easier to learn different languages, and speaking two languages was natural for me.”
I met these multi-generational winemakers on the final day of VinItaly 2014, a day when the crowds are lighter and it’s speed-tasting at booths you missed earlier in the week.
My friend and winemaker Susanna Crociani urged to visit the Franz Haas, assuring me I’d regret not tasting thier wines.
Franz Haas may be best known for his Pinot Nero, and he makes a light-bodied wine with deep red fruit flavors and the smooth acidity of a well-balanced version of Pinot Noir in the Alsatian style, although he suredly would say it’s really the Sudtirol style.
The winery had 13 wines at VinItaly, many of them from grapes considered very difficult to grow but none perhaps as difficult as Pinot Nero.They also offer a delightful Pinot Nero dry Rosé and a Moscato Rosa, with a breath-taking 136 grams of RS but the sweetness is tightly balanced by the wine’s high acidity.