This text is part of the special Pleasures notebook
September, month of grapes… Our wine columnist returns from Italy, where he attended the 4e Wine Summit, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. He talks about the region, renowned for its numerous vineyards, and shares his discoveries made at this major biannual event, where more than 300 wines were offered for tasting this year to the international press.
The town of Bolzano, in southern Tyrol, gives the impression, from a bird’s eye view, of being the center of a giant starfish whose articulated arms lick the steep walls of the Isarco and Isarco valleys. the Adige, hanging above their respective torrents. A corner of the country embedded in the Italian Pre-Alps, indented on the horizon by the famous Dolomites – the Dentelles de Montmirail, to the north – whose carbonated limestones and granitic porphyries already tell us about the composition of the local terroirs, without however sparing on the passing visitor with stiff neck.
We are here in the land of lights. “Altitude lights” (from 200 to 1000 meters) whose beneficial influence on the red and white grape varieties (the latter planted in a proportion of 64%) combined with day/night thermal differences refine and chisel the aromas while shaping the profile of the wines. In this sense, the wine production of Trentino-Alto Adige, even the style of its wines, fits in every way with the aspirations of a new generation of consumers who value wines of character which, ultimately, can be drunk even without thirst!
German, Austrian, Swiss influences…
We are also here in the land of tunnels, without which the 5,000 winegrowers, spread over some 5,700 hectares of vineyards – or 1% of Italian vineyards, for an average here of one winegrower per hectare – would have difficulty accessing their plots. clinging to the mountainside. For the record, just to “see the end of the tunnel”, did you know that the galleria di base del Brennero, the Brenner Pass tunnel, 55 kilometers long, whose construction on the Austrian side began in 2008, should lead to the Italian side in 2032? The moles certainly have no political program here!
Another particularity worthy of mention: this land of heights, with around twenty grape varieties – mainly chardonnay, pinot blanc, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and sauvignon for the whites and schiava (vernatsch), lagrein, cabernets and pinot noir for the red —, is in a very enviable position with regard to climate management, not in the future, but very present. The north-eastern planting axes can therefore join these west-facing exposures which face the east to preserve the palatability and freshness of the wines, all, once again, modulated according to altitude. The result is precise wines that are reminiscent of those calibrated to the millimeter by their northern neighbors.
The Wine Summit: a summit event!
Nearly 300 wines were offered for tasting to the international press during the recent 4e Wine Summit, a biannual event not only set like clockwork, but packed with a plethora of top-tier wines. The list of those absent on the shelves in Quebec is unfortunately too long to list, let us still remember some big names tasted likely to fill the portfolio of agencies here, bottles which would certainly delight lovers of fine wines . Note that the region is full of very high-level cooperative cellars, whether it is the Girlan, Kurtatsch, Colterenzio, St-Pauls or even St. Michael-Eppan cantinas.
Here are some houses cited for the enviable quality of their wines.
The essential? Alois Lageder, all categories combined! But there are also Metodo Classico type bubbles: Pfitscher, Praeclarus, Kettmeir. On the Pinot Bianco side: Hochklaus, Meran, Pichl. Chardonnay: Nals Margreid, Kobler, “Vigna Au” Tiefenbrunner. From Pinot Grigio: Peter Zemmer, Elena Walch, Tramin. Sauvignon blanc: Steinhaus, Niedrist Ignaz, St. Pauls (Schliff vintage). Vernatsch/schiava: Loaker, Rielingerhof, Kurtatsch (Sonntaler Alte Reben vintage). Pinot nero: Pfitscher, Hofstätter, Abraham.
South Tyrol stands out above all for its Lagrein grape variety, which has no equivalent elsewhere. Look for the houses Taber, Rottensteiner, Glögglhog, Messnerhof, Untermoserhof, Klosterkellerei, Larcherhof, Ansitz Waldgries and, of course, Loaker.
The reds of Cortaccia
If the local whites have secured an enviable reputation over the past 30 years, the reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are not to be outdone. The Cortaccia Rossa event, organized by producers Tiefenbrunner, Cantina Cortaccia, Baron Widmann and Peter Dipoli, set out to demonstrate once again this year that the reds from the Cortaccia region were meeting the challenge with flying colors during a blind tasting, where many Bordeaux-style red wines from the 2018 vintage were in the spotlight. At prices four, five, or even six times cheaper than Sassicaia, Château Brane-Cantenac, Pichon Baron, Opus One, Clinet and Ca’Marcanda by Angelo Gaja, which bowed to local wines. Enough to blow the columnist’s mind! This type of tasting has its limits, it is true, but the fact remains that the future for the “Bordeaux style” here remains very promising. To be continued !
The columnist was invited by the Alto Adige wine consortium and the European Union.
This content was produced by the Special Publications team at Duty, relating to marketing. The writing of the Duty did not take part.