Alto Adige Grand Tasting Tour
By Jessica Tinianow
The great whites have arrived. These are the geat white wines of the white wines from the Alto Adige Vineyard region of Northeastern Italy that I got to experience firsthand at the Alto Adige Wine Grand Tasting Tour .As I made my way thru samplings of the 20 wineries represented ,I experienced these authentic, fresh and crisp wines with their own original character. The white grape varieties are grown in more than 55% of the vineyards and the cooler temps of the high altitude of the region ranging from 650 to 3250 feet in elevation. The region provides the microclimates that produce the smooth and delicate tastes of the Pinot Bianco, Gewürztraminer , Chardonnay and the Pinot Grigio wines. All of the wines are in the $15-$24 range. Most are available now, or soon will be in your local wine shop.
Tasting the wines was a flavor experience, unlike many. All of the wines have a pronounced fruit character and an elegance of structure that speaks to the terroir from which they come.
The Pinot Blanc had an elegance scent of apples and lively acidity. The wine had a full array of fruitiness and considerable finesse for such a young wine.
The Sauvignon Blanc had aromas of gooseberries and if you’ve never had these fruits just try a glass of this wine and you will know what I mean. It was crisp and fresh with a marked intensity. This is a great wine to go with fish or a fresh salad made with Romaine lettuce and pears or blood orange slices.
The indigenous Gewürztraminer is a slightly spicy, crisp white wine that is unique to the region. It embodies rose scented character that encompasses a vast array of scents. There’s a splash of various tropical fruits with an overlay of rose petals, and lychee nuts that give it a luxuriant velvety texture. I like d this wine so much I would recommend drinking it alone, or with a selection of spring fruits and light semi-soft cheeses. Serve well chilled for a spring afternoon delight. This is definitely a patio wine!
Among the whtes there were a few standouts: the Alois Lageder Haberle Pinot Bianco 2009, Gewurtzraminer 2010 Peter Zemmer. These wines all embodied freshness and originality. They had balanced acidities, clean aromas and were a pleasure to drink. The St Valentin Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was also a pleasant wine to drink with its fruity character and balanced acidity.
Though I sing the praises of the white, I don’t want to overshadow the red varietals. They are equally on par. The Pinot Noir has rich aromas of dark berries and spices . It is very intense and was well structured. The Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabarnet Sauvignon were fresh and cleanly structured with a good bit of mineral taste. The low tannin reds were also elegant and spicy with immaculate acidity. If you have a guest who says they normally don’t drink red wine, this would be one for them to try. I think they’d like it.
The region grows around twenty different grape varieties. A few notable ones are the Schiava and Lagrein grapes which have a distinct identity and strength of expression.
The Schiava (Vernatsch) was low in tannins, a bit spicy with a moderate alcohol content. The Lagrein, one of the leading red wine varietal of the region, had an aroma of fresh cherries, berries and violets. It demonstrated a soft acidity and velvety body. The selection I tasted also emitted tones of spice, lending the selection more character and charm. It was light, earthy, and full bodied with a velvety texture and had a long finish.
Lest I not forget –dessert! Among the dessert wines Moscato Giallo:The pleasant aroma of the MG 2009 I tasted from Manincor 's vineyards was sublime.
The wines of the Alto Adige region are an absolute delight.
[Submitted by Jessica Tinianow]