The Trentino Alto Adige is a region where so many faces live together. The differences of the two macro areas known as Trentino and Alto Adige are also expressed in the most famous product of this Italian area: wine. Although red wines are just as interesting, they are the South Tyrolean whites to draw more attention to yourself. Discover how to choose the best white wine of South Tyrol for your dinner!
The origins of wine in South Tyrol
THE'South Tyrol is a territory that is part of the autonomous region with special statute known as Trentino Alto Adige. There are two provinces: that of Trento, which covers all the part known as Trentino, and that of Bolzano, to which South Tyrol refers. The two areas have strong linguistic and ethnic differences, but share a large chunk of wine history, which in Roman times saw the two areas unified under the name of Rezia. Viticulture developed very early in these two provinces. It has the first trace in an amphora dated 2000 BC found in Valle Isarco, in Alto Adige, inside which there are traces of grape seeds. An Etruscan vase called situla, dating back to the 8th century BC was instead found in Val di Cembra, in Trentino.
Both Trentino and South Tyrol are entirely mountainous areas. The river draws the boundaries of the various valleys Adige, which runs from north to south. The upper course of the Adige forms the Val Venosta and the Valle dell'Adige. Its largest tributary is the Isarco, in whose valley the Val Pusteria and the Valleys of Funes, Val Gardena, Val Egna and Val Sarentina converge. In South Tyrol the climate it is predominantly alpine, with strong seasonal and daily temperature ranges, although in some periods it is substantially mild, thanks to the mountain ranges that act as a barrier to the northern winds. The extraordinary aroma of these wines is therefore given both by the climatic element and by the different chemical composition of the soils, which influence the aromatic bouquet.
The most famous white wines of South Tyrol
Despite the not very vast production area, just 5,000 hectares, and the production of only 350,000 hectoliters, the wines from Alto Adige stand out for their numerous awards received. Furthermore, 98% of the wines produced in Alto Adice have the D.o.c. brand.
But what are they? the most famous white wines of South Tyrol? Impossible not to mention the Gewürztraminer, native vine known for its aromaticity. Despite the German name, this wine originates from Alto Adige and, to be precise, was born in Termeno, in the province of Bolzano. In German gewürz means spices while tramin is the German name of Termeno.
In all German-speaking countries the Traminer it was a vine known since the thirteenth century. Then this aromatic grape fell into oblivion until it became one of the most famous and appreciated South Tyrolean wines in the world thanks to its highly original bouquet. Today the Gewürztraminer it is also cultivated in the heart of Alto Adige enoico, in Appiano and Caldaro.
In this area, also known as Oltradige, some famous white grapes are grown, such as the Pinot Bianco. Winemakers trace its origin back to the genetic mutations of Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris. This international vine of French origins is cultivated all over the world, but found in Alto Adige, where it has been cultivated for over 150 years, one of its most suitable lands.
It is a very early vine, a characteristic that makes it suitable for extreme regions for viticulture such as South Tyrol. In the past it was often confused with Chardonnay. The wine obtained is of a beautiful straw yellow, fresh, dry and full-bodied. The Pinot Bianco it is also cultivated in the central stretch of the Valle Dell'Adige, between Terlano, Nalles and Andriano.
In the same area is cultivated Riesling. This vine grows among the red earths, the result of porphyritic pluvial deposits, giving birth to long-lived white wines. The most suitable territories for this type of vine are the valleys of the rivers Rhine, Main, Nahe, Moselle, Saar and Ruwer. However, Riesling grown in Italy produces a straw-colored wine with greenish reflections. The bouquet is fruity, with hints of peach and apricot, and a hydrocarbon finish. In South Tyrol it is also cultivated in the Isarco Valley.
In the Bassa Atesina, at record altitudes such as those in the Favogna area, is cultivated Müller Thurgau, a typical grape of the Val di Cembra, but which also in this area creates interesting expressions in a glass and bottle.
This vine owes its name to a Swiss winemaker, Hermann Müller. At the end of the nineteenth century, in the canton of Thurgau, it crossed the pollen of the Riesling Renano with a little known vine, called Madeleine Royal. The first to implant it in Trentino were the researchers of the Agricultural Institute of San Michele. Typical of the Val di Cembra, it adapts well to the cold climate. It reacts well on the porphyritic soils of the Adige Valley and on the lean and sandy ones of the Val Venosta.
The Sylvaner is a white grape variety originating in some of the Styria region, Austria, for others in the middle Rhine valley. Widespread in the Isarco Valley and in the central area of the Adige Valley, the Sylvaner takes its name from the Latin word silva, which means wood. Recent DNA studies have shown that the vine comes from a cross between traminer and Austrian white. A straw yellow wine with greenish reflections is obtained. A pleasant dry wine with slightly bitter notes, it is flavored with the right acidity.
The Kerner is another of the vines that enrich the Isarco Valley. It is a semi-aromatic white berry vine. It was created in 1929 by August Herold, in Germany, crossing Schiava grossa (a variety also known as Trollinger) and Riesling. It owes its name to the German doctor and poet Justinus Kerner, who wrote numerous poems about this vine. D.o.c. Alto Adige since 1993, the Kerner it is a wine that appears straw yellow in the glass with golden reflections. It has an intense aroma that turns towards the Muscat. Fresh and fruity, it has less acidity than Riesling, a characteristic that makes up for with more body.
Although it is not a native vine, the region is suited to the cultivation of Chardonnay, which is well suited to the continental pre-Alpine climate. On its own it represents about a third of the entire regional production. This type of grape is used as a base for the production of Spumante Trento Doc classic method. It is grown in the central area of the Valle Dell'Adige.
In the Adige Valley, between Bolzano and Merano, another international grape variety is grown, the Sauvignon. It is a white grape variety from the French area of Bordeaux. The name derives from the French word sauvage (meaning "wild"), in homage to the origins of a native plant of the south-west of France. It is one of the most widespread vines in the world. The wines created with Sauvignon grapes must be consumed quickly. Aging in excess of one year does not give any improvement effects on the organoleptic characteristics.
The best wines to pair with fish
THE dishes based on fish they are celebrated worthily by all South Tyrolean white wines.
Thanks to its aromatic bouquet, the Gewürztraminer goes well with the sushi classic and sashimi, accompanied by a few slices of fresh ginger. It is also good in combination with raw fish, one barbeque or one Tempura of crustaceans. Perfect with the classic fillet of baked sea bream. Salmon, tuna, smoked herring, sardines and roasted stockfish are also incredibly valued by this aromatic wine.
The Müller Thurgau it goes perfectly with fish first courses such as pappardelle with fresh tuna and cherry tomatoes, penne prawns and zucchini and other shellfish sauces. Also perfect with grilled (or boiled) fish, accompanied by grilled vegetables.
The Kerner it goes well with dishes based on shellfish and appetizers of seafood. Also perfect with grilled fish accompanied by vegetables.
The Pinot Bianco it goes perfectly with fish terrine, trout and salami char slightly smoked.
The Riesling perfectly accompanies dishes based on monkfish and recipes with protagonists clams.
The best wines to pair with meat
Among the South Tyrolean wines to pair with meat, the still stands out Gewürztraminer, also very suitable for more refined dishes like the Foie gras (which also goes well with the Kerner). This wine enhances the exotic in an exceptional way chicken with curry.
The Sylvaner goes well with specialties of White meat, but also with mushrooms and spicy dishes. However, the perfect encounter is with the asparagus.
The best wines to pair with aperitifs
During an aperitif we can come across both small baked goods, foie gras and small crustacean tarts, and a rich selection of cheeses. For the latter type of dish the best South Tyrolean wines to serve are the Sauvignon, the Müller Thurgau, the Kerner and the Riesling (species combined with goat cheese).
The best table wines
Among the best wines to be enjoyed throughout the meal, from appetizers to desserts, there are definitely the Müller Thurgau and the Sylvaner.
The best dessert wines
The Gewürztraminer also exists in version raisin: with this wine you will build a winning combination even with desserts typical of the South as the Neapolitan pastiera.
Never South Tyrolean sweet wines they are numerous. In this land are produced Yellow Moscato Passito D.o.c. and the Moscato Rosa D.o.c. and blends built with Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco and Gewürztraminer. Each cellar offers its best expression to combine with cakes, pastries and pastries.
The best wines for aging
The South Tyrolean white wines that lend themselves best to aging are born in the Valle dell'Adige, between the municipalities of Terlano, Nalles and Andriano. The vines, fed by red porphyritic lands, produce Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Riesling, Müller Thurgau is Sylvaner.
The best wines to give away
Among the South Tyrolean wines to give the "prince of the cart" remains the aromatic and seductive Gewürztraminer, to give dry or passito. To amaze your guests, bet also on lesser known vines and all to be discovered like the Müller Thurgau, the Riesling "Made in Italy" and the Sylvaner.