The Beautiful Südtirol-Alto Adige Region Provides Some of Italy's Most Soulful Whites
Südtirol-Alto Adige (sometimes grouped in with Trentino to its south) is a small, relatively unknown wine region that produces some of the most exquisite white wines in Italy. Located at the very tip top of Italy at the base of the Dolomites, Südtirol-Alto Adige is a unique autonomous province that was historically part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1919 when it was ceded to Italy after WWI.
The region is unlike any other in Italy. German is still the predominant language spoken, most cities go by both their German and Italian names and the wines and cuisine are more Alpine than Italian.
Pinot Grigio is the most famous white wine produced there, but other common varietals include Gewurztraminer, Muller Thurgau, Riesling, Syvlaner, Kerner, and Weissburgunder or Pinot Bianco. The white wine blends are among Italy's finest.
The stunningly beautiful region is a glacially carved valley that is covered in vineyards and apple orchards from the flat valley floor to the steep terraced hillsides, but it’s the region’s minerally soils, varied elevations and surprisingly warm Mediterranean climate that makes the wines so special. The Dolomites, luring over the region, act as a barrier to the extremely harsh cold weather from the north and dam the warm Mediterranean winds from the south. This creates unique microclimates and extreme temperature variations from day to night which locks in aromatics and acidity in the grapes and makes white wines that are fragrant, crisp, structured and dance on your tongue with a great balance of fruitiness and acidity.
If these sound like your type of wine then here are some of my favorites I recommend you try:
2015 Nals Margreid Pinot Grigio Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
Nals Margreid is a cooperative of 140 small farmers located in the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. The award winning winery produces traditional wines of this unique region and their pinot grigio is a great example of why the Alto Adige region is known for producing the world’s best Pinot Grigio. This is a medium bodied wine with crisp minerality that is packed with ripe stone fruits and balanced by bright acidity. It’s delightfully complex yet quaffable and refreshing.
$16.99 per bottle
2016 Cantina Terlano Pinot Grigio Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
Cantina Terlano is one of the oldest cooperative of farmers in Südtirol-Alto Adige, founded in 1893 with 24 farmers. Now the winery has grown to 143 members and is recognized worldwide for producing exceptional wines. Each year their Pinot Grigio is a store favorite with its elegance, weight and structure taking the wine to new levels. You won’t be disappointed with this wine with its generous fruit and zippy minerality. A great buy!
$19.99 per bottle
2016 Erste & Neue Pinot Bianco Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
Erste & Neue is another very old cooperative of farmers in Südtirol-Alto Adige with over 500 grower members who grow grapes on the steep terraced vineyards surrounding Lake Kaltern. Pinot Bianco, or Pinot Blanc, is not the most famous white wine from this region but is the wine that receives the most accolades year after year. Erste & Neue’s Pinot Bianco is medium bodied and creamy, but with the classic zippiness of the white wines from this region. Great as an aperitif but structured enough to handle fish, chicken and pork dishes.
$16.99 per bottle
2015 Köfererhof Sylvaner Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
Köfererhof is a very small winery located in the northernmost area of Südtirol-Alto Adige. They produce small quantities of some of the most exquisite white wines in Italy, focusing on the local varietals of the region. Their wines are known for their intense aromatics, concentration and balance. Sylvaner is mostly found in Southern Germany but found its way to Northern Italy during the Austro-Hungarian rule. This is a dry, crisp white wine with generous fruit that pairs great with cured meats and cheeses, vegetable pastas or white fish.
$24.99 per bottle
2015 Köfererhof Kerner Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
This Köfererhof white wine is a huge hit each time we pour it at one of our tasting events. Kerner is a unique varietal that is a hybrid of Riesling and the red German grape Trollinger. Created in Germany in 1929, the Kerner grape was bred to withstand cold, harsh winters and resist mildew. Köfererhof’s Kerner is highly aromatic with stone fruits and herbs and the medium bodied wine is fresh, juicy and layered on the palate with great length. This is a dry, minerally wine that can pair well with cured meats and cheeses, fish and white meats, or fish and meats in rich butter or cream sauces.
$29.99 per bottle