August Wine Letter - Edmund Mach

The man who revolutionised the Tyrolean wine landscape 150 years ago
In 1874, an agricultural college was founded in San Michele under the direction of Edmund Mach, an outstanding enologist of his day. Mach was a stroke of luck for Trentino, South Tyrol and the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Mach initiated the renaissance of Tyrolean winemaking. The VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol August wine letter is dedicated to this brilliant wine pioneer Edmund Mach!
 
 
When our (vinous) hearts swell with pride to the point of bursting on hearing or reading about a Gewürztraminer from Tramin, which scored 100 Parker points or about a white wine cuvée from Eppan, which is being sold at one of the most beautiful hotels in the south of England (Chewton Glen) for as much as 70 pounds a glass (!) or about an aged Chardonnay from Terlan, which received place of honour in the "Enoteca Pinchiorri", the most famous 3 Michelin star restaurant in Italy, then all of this is not just thanks to our current master cellarman generation. No, the thriving wine-growing culture and flourishing South Tyrolean & Trentino wine economy have much older roots. More than 150 years ago the opinions of experts on our wines were profoundly divided - on the one hand August Wilhelm Freiherr von Babo, founder and first director of the viticulture school in Klosterneuburg (1860), does mention our wines in his reference work on wine, but ranks them mostly .... among the "low" or "medium”. (>Lagrein yields very dark coloured red wines, which are excellent for blending with red wines low in colour<). And a well-known German wine connoisseur at that time: Dr. Wilhelm Hamm tattled on in his wine handbook from the year 1865: "The Tyrolean vine stock consists only of juicy, early-ripening grapes (...). The quality of Tyrolean wines is greatly varied. In general, they are light rather than heady, naturally flawless and very healthy. They possess a considerable amount of real tartaric acid, but very little actual acidity; they completely lack aroma and often body; they are mostly of low tenability, hence the extremely insignificant demand. (...) Wine from the valley floor (produced in the lowlands on damp, rich soil) is high yielding, but has no bouquet, is heavy and is not long-lasting. Overall, the vine stocks, musts and cellar management leave much to be desired and are the reason why Tyrol produces so many weak acidulous plants."

Nine years later, an agricultural college was founded in San Michele under the direction of Edmund Mach, an outstanding enologist in his day. Mach was a stroke of luck for Trentino, South Tyrol and the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy (which, after the disappearance of Lombardy and Veneto, longed for particularly full-bodied, spicy red wines from Trentino and South Tyrol ...). Mach initiated the renaissance of Tyrolean wine-making: he encouraged the introduction of new varieties from France, he developed new methods in viticulture and wine cellars and he supported small farmers at the mercy of merchants, to establish cellar cooperatives. The farmers were living under difficult circumstances at that time, and there was seldom talk of prosperity. Above all, many Trentino farmers emigrated or had to be content with surviving in dignified poverty. As a wine pioneer, Edmund Mach of the San Michele Foundation, invented a completely new concept against this economic backdrop: for the first time, lessons were supplemented by practical training in the neighboring farms, where students gained valuable work experience for later on at their parents' farm. And nowadays, when we hear about well-known varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, C. Franc and Merlot and perhaps the lesser known French varieties, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Syrah contained in excellent and highly decorated South Tyrolean wines, we owe thanks to Edmund Mach, who founded the research, planting and dissemination of new and interesting grape varieties in our region.
 
 
The VINUM-Hotel - September Wine Letter:

Lagrein-Tasting - Renaissance of the dark red South Tyrolean Primal Wine


The original vine, from which Teroldego and Lagrein, the two most powerful red wine brothers of our region, stem, has not yet been found. The chicken? Or the egg? Which came first? Our Trentino cousins refer to an enological study carried out at their San Michele educational institution, according to which, Lagrein descends from Teroldego. But even Trentino master cellarmen say that's a local patriotic hypothesis. After all, we can refer to the first documented mention of a Lagrein - anno 1379, (unclear as to whether a white or a dark L. is meant) - four years older than the first appearance of the word Teroldego (in a text from 1383). 4 years here or there: let's say that Teroldego and Lagrein are brothers, two identical twins, so that the master cellarmen from Piana Rotaliana and Gries, Auer and other small Lagrein vineyards can best live side by side. The VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol wine letter in September is dedicated to the original South Tyrolean wine variety Lagrein!