Alto Adige (also known as South Tyrol) is a wine area is in the north part of “Trentino Alto Adige” Italian region (north-east of Italy) where people feel very close to Germany even in terms of culture so the most of them speak german.
- General Information
This is a small production area: about 13.096 acres (for a comparison, in Piemonte there are about 126.023 acres, in Tuscany 148.263, in Campania 74.131). The total production is about 350,000 hectoliters per year produced by 5,000 companies working on 20 different varieties!
So the high number of varieties is the first thing that catches your eyes in South Tyrol. There are different opinion about that: a winemaker of the area told me ironically “maybe this is the Garden of Eden, or maybe there is something wrong”; actually there are opposite opinions about it: some producers think there is a wonderful terroir so it’s possible to produce many good wines from different varieties; some others believe in the specialization to produce very high quality. Well, once again the choices are personal and it’s really difficult to say which of the two theories would be more appropriate!
- The Consorzio and the communication
A good job is the one done by the consortium for the promotion and, also thanks to tourism, wineries state that sales are characterized by a high demand of wines by tourists. The tourism here is very well supported and developed, one can choose among thousand events and initiatives to discover the territory, the local traditions, wine and foos and much more.
In general I can surely state that this tour has been very worthy, I have tried great wines in general and I have visited lovely places!
- Varieties and wines
Another distinguishing feature of the area that I like to point out is that about 70% of the wine in South Tyrol is produced by cooperatives and thus becomes an excellent example for those who are skeptics regarding cooperatives!
Among the most popular wines of the area:
RED WINE / GRAPES
(almost 45% of production)
WHITE WINE / GRAPE
(more than 55% of production)
|LA SCHIAVA, historic wine: young, easy to drink that many wineries still produce mainly for traditional habits.||GEWURZTRAMINER, the famous aromatic wine of the area|
|LAGREIN, wine from indigenous grape more “important” and structured||PINOT BIANCO this wine is also called “Weissburgunder” here and its very good|
|PINOT NERO so-called “international” grape which here finds an excellent expression||CHARDONNAY another international grape which gives good results in this area|
|MOSCATO ROSA, sweet wine of the area (pink) which is gaining more and more success||PINOT GRIGIO, less common but widely requested by some countries abroad|
|There are also other international varieties such as MERLOT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON and CABERNET FRANC||A small production of the ‘semi-aromatic’ MULLER THURGAU, a grape variety more typical in the south of the region, the area called “Trentino”|
(This is clearly a simplification, there also are many interesting blend of the different grapes, as well as sparkling wines, sweet ones, some other less common indigenous grapes and so on):
The cellars, the producers
Well-known company and excellent example of cooperative with a wide range of products often rewarded, for example their Gewurztraminer “Nussbaumer”.
A success built through ordered step: first the terroir and the production in general, also thanks to the winemaker Mr. Villi; secondly, the investment in machinery, finally the current step: they have focused on a new original building and are working a lot on the communication in general. Perhaps the most precious wine is a late harvest of Gewurztraminer.
It is located in the center of a town (Termeno) where the family began almost 100 years ago. I took the tour with Markus the winemaker, who offered me the chance to try the older vintages. Among the others we had Pinot Nero “Barthenau-Vigna S. Urbano” vinitages 2011 and 2000, the last one with aromas of tobacco and toasty notes, smooth and elegant but still young somehow. Then, Gewurztraminer “Kolbenhof” 1998 definitely different from current vintages, with aromas closer to the dried fruit than to the classic rose petals we are used to.
A demonstration of the fact that South Tyrol is not only white wines, this company focuses a lot on red wines. A beautiful estate with a stylish communication style. Few wines, each with its own personality. They also produce the international Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and interesting blend.
Another place not to be missed, another supreme example of cooperative with a brand famous all over the world. They gain numerous awards, and you can easly get the merit by visiting the company. I’ve loved their Lagrein and the line “Rarity”: aged white wines, so we had together “Chardonnay 1998” and “Pinot Bianco 2002”: good project and great results!
Great personality, the owner and his wines; in fact the original labels can effectively represent that. Beyond the awards, for example the recent ones gained by his sweet wine “Moscato Rosa”, I like to notice his passion and love for this land.
He believes in specialization but maybe he will produce a sparkling wine to show that this is possible too!
Even this one is a well-known winery, maybe the one with the largest production (about 3 million of bottles) ensuring a remarkable quality for the all of them. The winemaker Hans was known as the “rebel”, he realized the potential of the whites a long ago already while today the area is known right for the white wines. Moreover he confesses “in South Tyrol there is little space left, so many are planting everywhere, not only in the areas really suited for each variety so they risk to get a low quality level”
One of my favorites: an elegant woman producing elegant wines and with an elegant bistro where you can try her wines paired with refined products of the area and even from abroad especially to educate. She is clear about the local red variety “La Schiava” when we tried this red wine she stated: “This is ‘La Schiava’, we cannot compete on the international market just with it even if it is our historic wine!” The wine is, in fact, easy drinking, an “every day” wine. I have also been impressed by her Cuvée “Kermess”, pleasant with great balance and harmony.
They are mainly known for white wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and then sparkling wines: white and rosè. Among the others I have been impressed also by their Müller Thurgau: balanced, aromatic but not too much and I’ve really appreciated their “Moscato rosa”!
Simple: the products are great; I loved each single wine I tried. In particular Pinot Nero “St. Daniel ” is definitely among the best I’ve tried. They also have very nice modern structure and put great attention to communication as well as to the environment: solar panels, control of lights and so on. Well done!
Company known during an intriguing event in San Paolo (the town) called “Magnum under the linden trees” excellently organized by Thomas Rauch with Apt Appiano. For the occasion, several companies of the area had only Magnum to be served to us all. Here I met the President – Leopold Kager, of great kindness and personality. His bottles are elegant and not only because of the packaging! Notable whites, not too pushed on aromatic notes but very balanced, the reds are very representative and truly pleasant.
I hope to write soon about each of them.
I suggest to visit the Consorzio’s website for further details.
(I apologize for any Shortcoming)