- Featured in this issue
The northern Italian Alpine region of Alto Adige is linked in name with its neighbor to the south, Trentino, yet it retains its own distinct Austrian heritage, and is even officially bilingual (“Südtirol” in German). Quality wine production is high, with more than half of the wine produced designated DOC. The wines here are varietally labeled (making them attractive to export markets) and production focuses on such international grapes as Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Riesling, and Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals. Lagrein is an especially inviting native red specialty. Winters are cold and snowy and spring frosts are a risk for vineyards, yet temperature fluctuations in this northern region are credited with heightening the flavor and aroma in wines. The cold Alpine climate is very well suited for white wines of distinction. Lageder, Tiefenbrunner, and Kettmeir, are three of the finest individual producers, but large co-operatives play an important role as well, including Cantine Sociale Girlain, Santa Magdalena, and our featured producer, Colterenzio.
“United we stand” is the founding (if not wholly original) motto of this important Alto Adige co-operative. Formed in 1960 by a group of 28 winegrowers and estate owners in the mountains above Bolzano, Colterenzio has grown into the largest co-op in the region, with 340 members and a huge array of wines. The vineyards around the tiny hamlet of Colterenzio are among Europe’s oldest. The first Roman settlers in the area founded the Cornelianum estate, marking the beginning of a wine culture which would develop and become the subject of songs and poems by medieval troubadours. Colterenzio wines show individuality, varietal character, and a sense of place. Yields are kept low, their cultivation methods are natural, their many vineyards have diverse micro-climates, and their commitment to making excellent wines keep them in the front rank of Europe’s top producers. The range of their wines shows terrific quality and care across the board, from the top of the line Lafoa Cabernet Sauvignon to the delicious basic Pinot Grigio..
What better way to kick off the American presidential campaign season than with a wine called “White House”? The Praedium wines from Colterenzio are single vineyard wines from old estates (“Praedium” in Latin). The grapes used for the Pinot Bianco Weisshaus come from old vines in the Weisshaus area in Appiano. The wine is characterized by a pale greenish-yellow color and aromas reminiscent of freshly sliced apples, lime, minerals and pears which follow through to a medium-bodied palate, mouthwateringly fresh acidity and a slight roasted touch with lots of flavor and a long finish. An excellent alternative to Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) is the ideal wine to accompany the famously wine-averse asparagus, summer vegetables, cooked fish (especially turbot), white meats and Italian pasta dishes. About $20 USD. (Importer: Villa Italia)
Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:
- Region: Trentino-Alto Adige
- Country: Italy
- Body: Medium
- Drink after: 2007
- Drink by: 2008
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Did you know: not one of the top three wine consuming nations has the highest per capita wine consumption?
For many years now, overall wine consumption has been tops in France (about 14%), Italy (about 12%), and the USA (about 10%). While France and Italy are always in competition for the most wine produced in the world (the U.S. comes in a distant fourth after Spain), and the title for most acreage under vine goes to Spain, the surprising fact of which country has the highest per capita wine consumption doesn’t factor in to any of the other top statistics. It’s not even a blip on the radar of wine production. So which country has the distinction of averaging some 16 gallons per resident per year? You guessed it … Luxembourg. A grand Grand Duchy indeed.
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