Italian Indigenous Varieties: Kerner

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Kerner is a grape that was created in Germany in 1969 by crossing Schiava Grossa or Trollinger with Riesling. It came to Italy early on and has been considered an Italian national varietal since 1981.  It is often made into a mono-varietal wine and at times is blended with other varieties. It is similar to Riesling but has lower acidity and higher alcohol, generally speaking. It is the only variety with a “K” that I will be writing about. I think the rest of this year will see posts on varieties starting with the letters L and M. If I finish the M varieties I will consider that a success. Anyway, back to Kerner. Lucky for me I have had a couple of New York City based occasions in which to taste Kerner – Tre Bicchieri and the Alto Adige tastings over the years. Fred Plotkin, an Italy and opera expert, among other things, once told me that he only tasted one variety per tasting or some small number like that. I often try to follow his lead. At Tre Bicchieri of course that was not possible but I did get to taste a great Kerner from Abbazia di Novacella from Alto Adige.

The Augustinian Canons Regular monastery is an active monastery, founded more than 850 years ago. Still a working church, it supports itself “through the cultivation and sales of agricultural products such as culinary herbs and fruit. In addition the wines from the Novacella/Neustift vineyards and monastery winery are famous throughout the world and have scooped the most coveted national and international awards,” according to their website.The soils are said to be rich in minerals which together with the cool climate and elevation lead to the cultivation of white wines with good acidity. Thanks to their micro-climate, they also have a long growing season. I loved the Kerner that I tasted wich was the Valle Isarco Kerner Praepositus 2014. I found it had great acidity, minerality and texture on the palate. I also loved their Moscato Rosa but that’s for a different day. Other wineries that maker Kerner that I enjoy are Castelfeder, Kaltern Caldaro, Nals Margreid, and Cantina Valle Isarco – all tasted at last year’s Alto Adige event.

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