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16 January 2006

2006 A Wine Oddity

TrentinomapWere Italy literally a boot, Trentino-Alto Adige would be my favorite area (upper rear thigh..).  As a wine region it has gone from curiosity to 'must-explore' in my book.  Each of Italy's numerous wine denominazione is indeed unique.  Yet this alpine frontier captures my imagination like no other.

Trentino-Alto Adige, is in fact two separate areas - hence the hyphen.  Alto Adige, also called Südtirol (just off the tip of Austria's Tyrol), is the region's northern half, which also makes it Italy's northernmost wine region.  The local culture is a gemisch of German and Italian.  The wines are made from a diverse bag of native grapes, Germanic grapes and French grapes (e.g. Schiava, Müller-Thurgau, Merlot).  To accommodate its grape diversity, Alto Adige vineyards range from 650 to 3,300 feet (200-1,000m) [World Atlas of Wine, 5th ed].  Most vineyards are located in the Adige valley, while the mountain goat vineyards are located in the Altoadige_vineyardsIsarco Valley.

Fun fact: The village of Tramin is located here, which is supposedly where Gewurztraminer garnered 3 syllables of its 5-syllable name (-Traminer = from Tramin).

On to Trentino...

Trentino_vineyardsTrentino is south of A.A., it's less mountainous and forms a trident-like three river split at the city of Trento (hence the name, which in ancient Rome was called Tridentum).  Trentino is well known for two unique red varietals: Marzemino and Teroldego Rotoliano.  Marzemino gained fame from Mozart's Don Goivanni ("Giá la mensa preparata").  Teroldego is more common.  It can produce inky-colored wines with berrylicous scents and flavors, along with a little food-friendly zip. 

Trentino also offers some nifty white wines.  Nosiola, is this region's indigenous white grape.  It produces a tart, crisp dry white and also contributes to the more famous, more rare sweet wine, Trentino Vin Santo.

Fun fact:  While Napoleon was acting out his, err, complex, and conquering Europe in the late 1700s, he took a miraculous right turn at Trento, thus sparing the folks further north in Alto Adige from his issues.  This is commemorated by the holiday, "Sacro Cuore."

I've noticed, at least in my neck of the woods, that wine from Trentino-A.A. is becoming more common.  Give it a try, there are lots of tasty vinos to be discovered from this region.  Two that I've recently sampled are:

Cantina Rotaliana di Mezzolombardo Teroldego Rotaliano, 2003 ($10) from Trentino

Abbazia di Novacella (Stiftskellerei Neustift) Kerner "Valle Isarco" 2004 ($19) from Alto Adige

Hopefully you lurking Trentino-Alto Adige enthusiasts out there will offer up some wine suggestions in the comments section.  What about it Terry of Mondosapore (update: Terry recommends Foradori - a Teroldego-based red from Elisabetta Foradori) Aristide?  Care to recommend a few?

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Comments

Jameson

It's just north over the border, but Movia (in Slovenia) makes great wines. Their Pinot Grigio spends like 3 years in barrel before release and it's out of this world.

They also make INCREDIBLE wine glasses; check out their champagne flute and grappa glass. Wow.

Jack

Jameson: I have quite a lot of Movia (Brda - Collio). You are right, their wines are incredible...I can go on and on about their wines. (And I have a set of 12 of the Pinot Noir glasses.)

Beau: I've been drinking more Northern Italian whites than anything else these last few months. Two world class wines I've had recently from Alto Adige - Südtirol are: The 2003 Sanct Valentin Sauvignon Blanc (from San Michele Appiano) and the 2001 Cornell Gewürztraminer (from Colterenzio).

(Note that some wines from Alto Adige say Südtirol on them instead of Alto Adige, or both - it's the German name.)

g58

I'm a budding enthuiast of the region. I recently had a pinot grigio from Terrazze della Luna. It's mass-produced and I'm not sure I would recommend it for fans of delicate aromatics. Seemed a bit cloying to me. But just this weekend I enjoyed a Teroldego varietal from 2002. The bottle looks like this. Mezzacorona is the producer and it drinks just as you described. Big bursting jammy fruit. I remember a pronounced raspberry zippiness with noticeable acid on the finish and mild tannin. Affordable and worth it.

beau

g:
Indeed - some mass produced in this neck of the woods are worth avoiding. Thanks for the tip on the Teroldego - I'll seek it out.

Jameson - Funny you should mention Slovenia. If all goes well, I'm hoping to visit there in the spring. I was in Slo once before, but was much younger and didn't pay too close attention to wine. If you've got some producers to recommend, let me know.

Jack - thanks for the recommends. Hopefully I'll be able to see them up close and personal at some point.

Giampiero alias Aristide

Beau,
just some more information on your nice post.
Alto Adige (or Sud Tirol, like they prefer to be named there, considered their ancient tradition of an entire nation - Tirol - splitted in two parts between Austria and Italy after World War I) is one om my most favourite wine region in Italy. They actually have a complete range of wines - from champenoises to great whites and reds (in Bordeaux- and Bourgogne-style), with very interesting and particular indigenous wines based on local grapes (Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Schiava), with all the varietal range from dry wines to aromatic and sweets.
Just to give to you and your readers some more indications, here are some wines I've written something about on my blog, Aristide.biz:

Whites
- Südtiroler (Alto Adige - A.A.) Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer 2004 - Cantina Termeno
- Südtiroler Gewürztraminer Brenntal 2003 - Cantina Produtori Cortaccia
- Südtiroler Pinot Grigio Unterebner 2004 - Cantina Termeno
- Südtiroler Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer 2004 - Cantina Termeno
- Südtiroler Weissburgunder (White Pinot) Cornell 2003 - Cantina Produttori Colterenzio

Reds
- Südtiroler Loam 2002 - Cantina Termeno - Cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot
- Composition Reif 2003 - Josephus Mayr - Cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon and Lagrein
- Lamarein 1999 - Josephus Mayr - Lagrein (monovarietal) partially dried at the same way like an Amarone
- Südtiroler Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir) Schweizer - Franz Haas
- Südtiroler Blauburgunder Mazzon 2002 - Gottardi
- Südtiroler Blauburgunder Barthenau Vigna S.Urbano 2000 - J. Hofstätter

Sweets
- Südtiroler (Alto Adige - A.A.) Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer 2004 - Cantina Termeno
- Südtiroler Gewürztraminer Terminum Vendemmia Tardiva (Late Harvest) 2003 - Cantina Termeno
- Südtiroler Gewürztraminer Joseph Vendemmia Tardiva (Late Harvest) 2003 - J. Hofstätter
- Südtiroler Gewürztraminer Passito Cresta 2003 - Hans Rottensteiner
- Südtiroler Valle Venosta Riesling Castel Juval Vendemmia Tardiva 2004 (Late Harvest) - Unterortl, Castel Juval, the winemaker is Reinhold Messner, the famous mountains' climber
- Moscato Rosa Vendemmia Tardiva 2004 (Late Harvest) - Franz Haas

Sparkling
- Talento Extra Brut Millésimée - Arunda Vivaldi-Joseph Reiterer - they claim to be Europe's most higher cellar: in fact, they are based at 1,200 mt. over sea level...

Ciao from Italy!

I was born in South Tyrol so I appreciated very much your post.
I add just a few details.
- Gewürztraminer: the missing syllabes "gewurz" mean, in German, aromatic, spicy. Two attributes which well describe this wine from Tramin; a village in the heart of the region.
- North of Alto Adige - Sudtirol there isn't Slovenia, but Austria (region called NorthTyrol, main city Innsbruck).
- Slovenia borders Italy's most Eastern region, named Friuli (producing wines such as Tocai, Picolit, Refosco, etc...) and there you might find similarities (but still long way to go, to reach the average quality of the "friulani wines)".
- My friend Giampiero (his Aristide wineblog is excellent) has "forgotten" to mention Terlaner, a wine blend of Pinot blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc and the locally selected Sylvaner (famous Alsacian wine) which I recommend to the readers.
- in general terms the wine from South Tyrol and also the ones produced in nearby Trentino offer a good price/quality ratio.
Bye everybody from a sunny but frozen Verona.
Alex

Randy

Kudo's, I love this regions wines as well. Foradori is an iconic Teroldego producer but don't forget the Zeni brothers. I recently posted about the Campo Rotaliano and the Zenis in my blog. One of my personal favorites is the Rotari Arte Italiana from Groupo Mezzacorona. It's a Metodo Classico sparkler and a good value as I recall.

R

Where did you all get your movia glasses?i'm trying to buy some myself..

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