Many factors contribute to make Alto Adige one of the most interesting wine producing regions of Europe. There is no other Italian wine producing region that can rival the diversity of this mountainous, beautiful and agriculturally well managed region.
The incredible spectrum of high quality wines of Alto Adige renders this region a formidable competitor on international markets.
Alto Adige was before World War I Austrian territory but had to be acceded to Italy after the loss of the war.
The population still speaks German, is of Allemanic stock and favours German or Austrian grape varieties.
The Valley Tramin is located in Alto Adige is the birthplace of gewürztraminer, but Alsatian wineries managed to make it famous. The grape of the town is still called traminer aromatico by its Italian name. Gewurz means “spice” in German and when traminer was first transplanted in Austria, then in Germany it mutated to a spicy flavour.
Alsace, now part of France, was twice before German and hence sports to this day the German name.
Alsatian wines in general are planted predominantly with German grape varieties as the region belonged to Germany for a long time.
Viticulture has a long history in Alto Adige, located north of Veneto bordering Austria.
Three thousand years ago, there were already vineyards, and when Roman historians came to the region they concluded that the region’s wines tasted as good, if not better, than Roman wines from further south.
The first transports in barrels occurred on the Via Augusta for the Emperor Augusta who, it is reported, waited anxiously for the tasty libations to arrive.
As a result of region’s terroirs varietal wines of Alto Adige are as diverse as the landscape.
Schiava, lagrein, traminer aromatico, are indigenous and are still grown as well as pinot blanc (pinot bianco), chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio (rulander), silvaner, muller-Thurgau, riesling, veltliner and kerner are preferred for white wines, yielding light, fragrant, and enjoyable libations.
Lagrein and lagrein-dominated blends are popular, light, “juicy” and favoured by locals and Austrians. Some of the blends may contain merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and even pinot noir (pinot nero), and are medium weight.
Teroldego, another indigenous variety, enjoys some popularity especially in Trentino for its inky colour, but emanating cherry and berry aromas.
Teroldego appeals more to locals and Austrians who prefer acid driven wines over fruit driven products.
Significant quantities of Lagreiner and teroldego are exported to Austria as everyday consumption wines.
Alto Adige’s vineyards occupy 5000 hectares and produce on average 350,000 hectolitres, whereas Tuscany produces 2,700,000, Sicily 10,500,000, and Piedmont 2,700,000).
Light, aromatic, highly mousseaux wines are now being produced by the champagne method and starting to capture the imagination of wine drinkers who appreciate refined textures and elegant flavours.
For red grapes farmers prefer – pinot noir, lagrein, teroldego, merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and otehrs
Alois Lageder, Hofstatter, Tiefenbrunenr, and Elena Walsch are small Alto Adige wineries known for their refined and elegant white wines.
Trentino in the southern part of the region is well noted for its fragrant pinot grigio by Barone Fini, Bollini, and Mezzacorona wineries.
Foradori in Trentino is famous for its Lagreiner aka as St Magdalener, and Rotaliano wines. Both are light, acid driven red wines that are consumed by mostly German and Austrians tourists.