Monday, October 19, 2015

Alto Adige Wine: A Castle Of Pinot Grigio

A recent online tasting session featuring wines of Italy’s Alto Adige region was put on by Alto Adige Wines and Bottlenotes and was hosted by Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and acting editor-in-chief of the daily email blast, The Daily Sip. Participants tasted the eight wines and chatted in virtual fashion about their swirling, smelling and sipping experiences. 

You may know of Alto Adige by their white wines - aromatic, with wonderful minerality and acidity. Only sixty percent of the area’s wines are from white grapes, however. Pinot Grigio is the leading white grape, and they are probably a far sight better than the Pinot Grigio you may find in the grocery or on restaurant wine lists. Schiava is the most popular red grape, with Lagrein and Pinot Noir also showing well.

@thedailysip commented during the event that, "Alto Adige can be the #GoldilocksWine between the light wines of summer and dense bold wines of winter." @KMacWine tweeted, "@AltoAdigeWines can often be overlooked. That can have an upside: great value." That is one of my favorite tricks when looking for a great wine deal - an overlooked wine region.

Here are the Alto Adige wines featured during the virtual tasting event:

Castel Sallegg Pulvernai Pinot Grigio 2014 
Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio 2013
Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco 2012 
Colterenzio Prail Sauvignon 2013 
Cantina Andrian Gew├╝rztraminer 2014
Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Pfarrhof Kalterersee Auslese 2013
Erste + Neue Mezzan Pinot Nero 2013
Abbazia di Novacella Praepositus Lagrein 2010

Castel Sallegg Pulvernai Pinot Grigio 2014 (Alto Adige, Italy) $22

"The modern story of the ancient Castle Sallegg starts in 1851," states the Sallegg website. That is when Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of the Lombardy and Veneto, bought the castle and surrounding wine estates. I wonder what the poor people were doing that year? Oh, right - picking grapes.

This wine is made from 100% Pinot Grigio grapes - various clones - grown in the Kaltern - Pulvernai area. Bottled in Caldaro, the wine hits only 13% abv.

On social media, @KMacWine tweeted, "The concept of bitterness is important to understanding #Italian #wine. This Sallegg is a great example of good bitter." She continued, "Bitter doesn’t have to mean bad. Cocoa, olives and coffee are all bitter foods we love." When it comes to Pinot Grigio - a much maligned grape - MacNeil comes to its defense: "The best #PinotGrigio wines have real character. They should not be simply neutral-tasting and bland."

From @thedailysip: "We think #PinotGrigio is a great everyday wine and there’s nothing wrong with that." Didn't say there was. @AltoAdigeWines chirped that "PG wines from #AltoAdige are known for their floral aromas, minerality & complexity."

In the Sallegg Pulvernai PG, a nice golden tint leads to aromatics that are fruity and laced with minerals. Apricots and lemon-lime give a much more forceful nose than I expect from a Pinot Grigio. The palate shows apples, citrus and minerals in a fresh display, while the acidity is bright and zippy.

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