I’m on my way to Austria today if all goes well. I still have to write about the most famous of Austrian Grape varieties: Gruner Veltliner and of course, the king of whites – Riesling. I hope to do that while I am away. If I don’t get the chance to write again before the end of 2010, I wish all a very Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2011. Thanks for reading Avvinare this year. My readership is up but as always, it would be great to have more readers and much more participation.
I hopefully will ring in the New Year with an Italian sparkler. There are so many to choose from whether it be Ferrari from Trento, sparkling wine from Franciacorta, a Prosecco from the Veneto or a sparkler from another region. Italians are now all making sparkling wines from indigenous varieties, a movement I find very exciting. I have had sparklers from a wide variety of indigenous grapes – Ribolla Gialla from Friuli, Pecorino from Le Marche and Abruzzo, Pinot Noir from Lombardia and the list goes on. Not to be forgotten are the great red sparklers Lambrusco and Gragnano, among others. Check out Snooth’s article the other day on Italian sparklers for some specific recommendations. I trust Greg’s palate and his long experience with Italian wines.
Whatever it will be, I know a little piece of my heart will be in Italy on New Year’s as it always is, ringing in the New Year and saying tanti auguri, buon anno a tutti!!!
This Thanksgiving I shared a number of Pinot Noirs with some members of my extended family, all 32 of them. One of the most memorable, although by no means the most dear, was from St. Michael-Eppan in Alto Adige. I actually bought it at the duty free shop on my way home from Rome for about 11 euro.
It doesn’t seem to be that widely available in the United States but I did find some in Massachusetts on Wine-Searcher.com. I thought it was a perfect match for the turkey, relish and sweet potato dishes that are staples at my thanksgiving table.
Cantina S. Michele Appiano as it is called in Italian, is a consortium with 350 members. It was founded in 1907. The growers who sell their grapes to the consortium of quite varied. Together they have 355 hectares and 2.5 million bottles sold each year. The enologist is Hans Terzer, a well known figure in European enology. He has been the enologist since 1977. He is considered one of the foremost experts in white wines. I’d say his reds aren’t too shabby either.
The Pinot Noir that I drank was from the Linea Classica while S. Michele also has a Linea Cru and the label Sanct Valentin, widely available on the U.S. Market.
I visited this area of the Alto Adige when I interviewed producer Elena Walch some years ago. Alto Adige is a beautiful part of Italy, quite different from everywhere else but fascinating.
I love the Merano wine festival, perhaps my favorite as well as the beautiful valleys. Bolzano and Trento are lovely cities and the whole area is exciting in both winter and summer. Definitely not an area to be missed, I highly recommend a trip next time you are looking for a vacation spot off the beaten track.
Vinitaly is tough not just on your palate but on your decision making skills. So many wines and so little time. I often am pointed in one direction or another by friends of wine colleagues. That is how I ended up tasting the wines of Niedermayr from Alto Adige.
Together with some wine friends, we tasted through numerous Pinot Nero (Noir) wines being made in Italy. Alto Adige is the area par excellence for Pinot Nero although I have found one from Tuscany that is dreamy from Podere Fortuna as well. Franz Haas is the most famous producer of Pinot Nero in Alto Adige but others are giving him a run for his money. One of this is Niedermayr in my opinion.
I tried two of the Pinot Neros from 2006 and I think the Linea Classica one was my favorite. It was beautiful both on the nose and the palate showing typical expressions of Pinot Nero – small red and black fruits (sotto bosco), earthy notes and a hint of mushroom. It was also intense and persistent. A real find.
The cru version of this wine called Precios was a bigger wine which spent a period in oak. It too was delicious but I preferred the former.
I also tried a fantastic passito called Aureus from their Reserve Line.
Many wineries in Alto Adige buy some of their grapes from growers and then have some of their own vineyards. This is true of Niedermayr as well.
The winery has been operational for 158 years and is still run by the same family. Most of their vineyards are located on volcanic soil, which is often mixed with clay and sand in some of the areas as Alto Adige is at the foot of what used to be a glacial fan.
The main cities in Alto Adige are Bolzano, Trento and Merano. Niedermayr is located near Bolzano. Many wineries are influenced by the breezes from Lake Caldaro.
A beautiful area which makes exquisite wines, the Alto Adige building is always an obligatory stop for me at Vinitaly.