Friday, October 23, 2015

Alto Adige Wine: Pinot Bianco

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. 

The Alto Adige region is located in the far northern reaches of Italy, just below Austria. Italian and German are spoken in the region, and it is not uncommon to find German words on the labels of the region’s wines.

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


Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco 2012 (Alto Adige, Italy) $35

The Vorberg Pinot Bianco is from Terlano. It is made from 100% Pinot Bianco grapes, whole cluster pressed and slowly fermented in big oak barrels. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on the lees - spent yeast cells - for a period of 12 months. Both of these features help create a full, round mouthfeel. Alcohol is 14% abv, a tad higher than usually found in Italian whites. Cantina Terlano's first vintage of this wine was in 1993.

This Pinot Bianco shows brilliant yellow gold in the glass, a really gorgeous tint. One whiff gives you the lowdown on Italy's Alto Adige region - minerals aplenty. A plethora of minerals. More minerals than at which you can shake a stick. There is fruit on the nose, but that apricot aroma is there only because it was invited by the minerals. In the mouth, razor-sharp acidity tingles like a low-voltage current. Apricot pokes its head out the door again, but returns to the party in the company of the minerals.

Pairings? Oysters are a no-brainer. Salami is also a good choice, as is linguine with garlic and capers.