Immortalized by Goethe with his poem the Wanderer’s night-song, it is the pristine and snowcapped side of Italy. With its two administrative provinces, Trento and Bolzano, the region is split linguistically and culturally between Germanic and Italian influences. Trentino remains the most Italian, while Südtirol is heavily influenced by Germanic culture.
Along with its cultural mix and spectacular landscapes, this northern Italian region produces outstanding white wines. Wines that are characterized by fresh acidity, fruit and floral aromas, and heady fragrances.
Closest to the Alps, Südtirol is where white wines bask in a microclimate that makes both indigenous and international varietals rich with fascinating fragrances.
Viticulture in this region has ancient origins. Archaeological finds indicating wine production date back to the period preceding the Etruscans. When the Roman Empire conquered the area, they advanced viticulture being used such as growing techniques with vine training systems and the use of the wooden barrels to preserve and transport of wine, instead of the jars that the Romans used.
The wines of Alto Adige — Südtirol (and Trentino) continued to entice and became a staple product of the German and Austrian nobility, as well as captivating French merchants. Throughout the numerous invasions and dangers, monks of the region did their best to preserve the wine culture protected by their monastic walls.
Today, eight DOC wines come from Alto Adige – Südtirol, starting with the designation Alto Adige that may be carried by all common Alto Adige grape varietals that conform with DOC provisions. Alto Adige Bianco Doc produced by Cortaccia Freienfeld and Penòner’s Pinot Grigio are both elegantly balanced whites with mineral aromas and fruity perfume that can be had on their own for a glass of holiday cheer, or with cheeses and lighter appetizers.
White wines are the Isarco Valley’s superlative expression. The designation Alto Adige Valle Isarco or Südtirol Eisacktaler must be followed by a variety or location. The permitted white grape varieties are Sylvaner, Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling, while the permitted red varieties are limited to or Schiava, Portugieser, Lagrein, and Pinot Noir.
The Alto Adige Santa Maddalena (Südtirol St. Magdalener) flourishes on the slopes north of Bolzano and is a classic Schiava wine, which may also contain up to 15% Lagrein or Pinot Noir. If the wine comes from the zones of St. Magdalena, St. Justina, Rentsch, Leitach, or St. Peter, it may carry the additional tag Classico or Klassisch.
Alto Adige Terlano (Südtirol Terlaner) may only be applied to Italian white wines from the Terlano area. Without a listing of the grape varietal, Alto Adige Terlano is a white wine cuvée that contains a minimum of 50% Pinot Blanc and/or Chardonnay.
The cultivation zone around Merano using exclusively the Schiava grape variety is Alto Adige Meranese (Südtirol Meraner).
The only DOC designation not preceded by the words Alto Adige or Südtirol is Lago di Caldaro (Kalterersee). The reason for this? Lago di Caldaro wines are produced straddle the provincial Alto Adige and neighboring Trentino borders. If, however, the wine is produced in the winemaking communities within Alto Adige defined as Lago di Caldaro, then both the words Alto Adige or Südtirol and the additional designation Classico or Klassisch may be used. Wines that are especially high quality may carry the additional designation superiore or Auslese (select).
The cultivation zone of the Alto Adige Colli di Bolzano or Südtirol Bozner Leiten, a Schiava wine, surrounds the zone of the Santa Maddalena like a belt.
The province’s newest DOC zone is the designation Alto Adige Valle Venosta or Südtirol Vinschgau, and must always be supplemented by the varietal designation. The permitted grape varieties are Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Riesling, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Schiava, and Pinot Noir.
From the medieval town of San Paolo and its surroundings, Kössler produces a Langrein Rosè, a beautifully festive wine, Rosè pink with aromas like blacks and red currants, blackberries, plums, blueberries, herbs, fresh oregano and violets. Instead, H. Lun’s – Sauvignon 1840 combines the varietal’s typical aromas of pepper and tomato leaf, for a refreshing palate perfect with fish dishes and risotto.
Learn more about the wines of Südtirol, try them through DesignWine‘s carefully and meticulously researched Selections:
Scents from South Tyrol- www.designwine.co.uk/Selections/Scents_from_South_Tyrol
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