Monday, November 9, 2015

Alto Adige Wine: Social Media Tasters Love Old World Sauvignon

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.

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 Gewürztraminer 2014
Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Pfarrhof Kalterersee Auslese 2013
Erste + Neue Mezzan Pinot Nero 2013
Abbazia di Novacella Praepositus Lagrein 2010

Colterenzio Prail Sauvignon 2013 (Alto Adige, Italy) $23

This very nice example of Sauvignon Blanc comes from Colterenzio. The company's website gives a bit of history: "The wines from the hamlet of Colterenzio were favourites of Archduke Sigismund when he resided at Firmiano Castle in the 15th century, though the area was producing fine wines much earlier. Around 15 B.C. a Roman country gentleman named Cornelius settled here and established his "Cornelianum" wine estate and the first wine culture in the area. The Roman name eventually evolved into "Cornaiano", the village Colterenzio calls home. The Colterenzio winegrowers' co-operative was founded by 28 vintners in 1960. Over the years other passionate viticulturalists from diversified micro-zones in the area joined the collective, and today nearly 300 members cultivate approximately 300 hectares of vineyards."

For Prail, fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks, with part of the wine fermented in large oak casks. Both new wines refine separately on their fine lees for six months and are blended before bottling. The alcohol level is only 13.5% abv, and the wine retails for $23.

During the social media event, comments were very positive. @thedailysip tweeted, "This #Colterenzio is a perfect example of Old and New World winemaking working together in harmony." @KMacWine noted, "Slightly bitter and green in the best possible way, the #Colterenzio Sauvignon has huge personality. Just the right acidity to #pair with goat cheese." @AltoAdigeWines advised, "Pair the 2013 Colterenzio Prail Sauvignon w/ asparagus dishes, scallops, and fish of all sorts."

This zippy white wine has an invigorating nose of green apples and grass, just like springtime. In the mouth, you notice the acidity first - it is powerful. Flavors of apples, a bit of nectarine and a slight soapy, savory edge adorn the palate. I would have this wine with any plate of oysters in the world. I actually had it with a pepperoni and Swiss sandwich, and it was great.

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