Alto Adige 2016 – red varieties
A small group of five MWs and two MW students recently travelled to Alto Adige to experience the region’s wines over three days in September. The focus of the trip was on the red wine grape varieties of the region with an emphasis on Lagrein, Schiava and, very interestingly, Moscato Rosa of which young and mature examples were sampled. In addition, the region’s expressions of international red varieties such as Pinot Noir and Bordeaux varieties were also examined. Inevitably the region’s white wines were also sampled with some strikingly good expressions of Pinot Bianco presented throughout the trip.
The visits to the wineries were against the beautiful backdrop of the Adige valley, the Dolomites, apple orchards in the plain and vines on the slopes. Although we had moments of clear blue sunny sky, most of the trip was marked by overcast and slightly rainy weather for which the producers were grateful, given the very dry summer they had just experienced. It was encouraging to see the magic that roaming MWs (and those to be!) can wield!
A visit to the Castelfelder Wine Estatekicked off the first full morning with a visit to their Pinot Noir vineyards and a glass of 2015 Doss Chardonnay from the estate on a bridge on the Montagna overlooking the valley and the vineyards.
The trip progressed through a variety of producers some of whom showed us their specific interests in local varieties. Waldgries Winery showed Schiava in the form of Santa Maddelena (where it is typically blended with a small proportion of Lagrein) whilst the variety’s unblended form at Lago di Caldaro was shown by Cantina Kaltern which also manages an experimental vineyard of 50 different clones of Schiava. Cantina Muri Gries with its monastery cellar showed us the quality and ageing potential of Lagrein.
Castel Salleg at Caldaro presented Moscato Rosa. An Alto Adige interpretation of Bordeaux varietals was seen at Cantina Kurtatsch in Cortaccia. Quite apart from the visits to these producers, many other very generous and hospitable producers very kindly showed their wines at the meals that they hosted for the group. Dining was excellent with the final dinner culminating at the idyllic alpine restaurant Gostner Schweige 1,900 metres above sea-level where the chef makes his own butter and cheese. Dishes were liberally scattered with mouthwatering fresh alpine herbs and flowers. Well fed and well marinaded, the happy band of visitors dispersed in the morning of 18 September doubtless with many fond memories.
The Consorzio Vini Alto Adige did a superb job of organising the trip and herding us through the itinerary punctually. Many thanks are due to them, the wineries we visited and the following wineries who also showed their wines at the meals: Kettmeir, Cantina St. Michael Eppan, Elena Walch, Rottensteiner Winery, Cantina Schreckbichl, Cantina Megan Burggrafler, Glogglhof, Egger Ramer and Cantina St. Pauls.