Tre Bicchieri in Alto Adige
A territory doesn’t only evolve through improvements in viticulture and winemaking—it is, above all, the result of re-examining one’s choices and making the most of what nature bestows. Technique has never been lacking in Alto Adige—perhaps it’s one of the regions that offers the best overall quality in Italy, though in recent years we’ve also witnessed an effort to develop the attributes of the territory that has few equals. Producers are exploring the relationship between varietals and different terroirs with ever greater precision, choosing with meticulous scientific precision where to plant each grape. Thus Cantina Girlan and Castelfeder have been making more and more space for Pinot Nero, with a series of wines that draw on different vineyards and exposures; the small producers of Santa Maddalena are still closely linked to Schiava and Lagrein; Bassa Atesina/Unterland is increasingly focused on the opportunities offered by the different elevations (Bordeaux varieties at the bottom of the valley, Gewürztraminer a little higher and Müller Thurgau or PIWI varieties at 1000+ meters).
The best wines of Alto Adige
All this contributes to a mosaic of grapes and wines that is increasingly emerging as the expression of a territory, and not just pure technique. The points of excellence are innumerable: Muri Gries and Glögglhof’s powerful Lagrein from the warm vineyards of the city basin, wines echoed by the more spirited whites of the Eisack Valley, or Girlan and San Michele Appiano’s elegant Pinot Neros, expressions of the hills of Cornaiano and Appiano Monte that are counterbalanced by Tramin and Ritterhof’s bewitching Gewürztraminer or Nals and Peter Zemmer’s Pinot Grigio, which convey the idea of a grape of great caliber. But even more important is the quality of the wines that reached our final tastings and that often achieved the maximum possible score. That is the strength of the territory: a set of cooperatives, small producers or large wineries that are all on the same side, producing wines that, in addition to indisputable technical quality and pleasantness, represent a bond with their regional culture and the territory, creators of that ‘Made in Italy’ brand that brings so much value to all the nation’s agri-food sector.