Chestnuts, Kerner, convivial gatherings in autumn

Where grapes grow, as the saying goes in South Tyrol, people are jovial and curious about the new vintage
Starting in September, traditional South Tyrolean taverns along with dedicated chefs from Vinum Hotels South Tyrol prepare homemade South Tyrolean Törggel specialties - paired with suitable wines from selected wineries and delectable roasted chestnuts with "Sußer" (sweet grape must), resulting in a deliciously indulgent autumn!

The term Törggelen comes from Torggl, the room where the grape press was located and where Törggelen used to also take place. The term goes back to the Latin - torquere (to turn) which in this context means to press wine and here, is associated with the celebration of the harvest. At the J. Hofstätter Winery in Tramin, it's harvest time! From early morning until late into the evening, it’s hand-picking, destemming, pressing and mashing. But after all that work in both the vineyard and cellar, the tasty side of grape-picking begins!

"Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.//Lay your shadow on the sundials,//and let loose the wind in the fields.//Bid the last fruits to be full;//give them another two more southerly days,//press them to ripeness, and chase//the last sweetness into the heavy wine."

The autumn mood described and indeed conjured up by Rainer Maria Rilke, emotionally corresponds to the hopes of all South Tyrolean winegrowers: >chase the last sweetness into the heavy wine!< In South Tyrol, gathering chestnuts and harvesting grapes both fall in the autumn weeks of September & October. This is when sweet grape must, roasted chestnuts and freshly fermented young wines are served in well-kept, traditional taverns as well as in the renowned Vinum Hotels South Tyrol. The October Wine Letter is dedicated to splendid autumn customs and the autumn atmosphere in Vinum Hotels South Tyrol!

Originally, Törggelen was the convivial tasting of wine amongst winegrowers at harvest time. It was all about tasting the Nuien, literally the new wine and then sharing some insights. To enjoy Törggelen, the order of the day, according to tradition has already been established and should preferably take place at a farm that still produces everything entirely on its own premises.

Schlutzkrapfen, ravioli usually filled with ricotta and spinach are served as a starter, followed by a range of Tyrolean dishes, some simple, some more substantial such as Kaminwurz, a smoked, dried sausage or Speck, a dry-cured, lightly smoked ham and then Schlachtplatte, a hearty dish of boiled pork belly and freshly cooked Blutwurst, blood sausage served with Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage. After that, the real attraction of the Törggelen get-together arrives: chestnuts, known as Keschtn in South Tyrol, are roasted under the open sky and served with a slightly alcoholic, sweet grape must and then to round off the meal, traditional farmer's fritters filled with apricot jam, poppy seeds or chestnuts are lovingly served.

In the Eisack Valley, one of the "key areas" of wine & chestnut traditions, people eagerly await the new Kerner, Sylvaner, Ruländer, Müller Thurgau, Riesling year after year. "It is precisely this aroma, a dense, invigorating acidity paired with noticeable minerality," writes Peter Baumgartner, chairman of the Eisacktal Winery, "which distinguishes Eisacktal Kerner wines from most other Kerner wines and even makes them stand out with a character of their own: Eisacktal Kerner excellently expresses the grape variety and the region. The higher-lain Eisack Valley vineyards allow for a longer ripening period, which promotes aromatic ripeness and distinctiveness. This leads to higher concentration in the berries and subsequently to more expression, fruitiness and those well-known aromatic qualities of wine."
The Vinum Hotel November Wine Letter

“For two millenia, South Tyrol has been fostering a relationship between the cooler north and the serene south." - next month is about wine, wellness, SPA, farmer’s baths and the origins of tourism in South Tyrol.

"South Tyrol is a land blessed by God," wrote the unforgotten master chef Andreas Hellrigl. "... the valleys blossom and flourish, everything your heart desires grows within, inviting you to stop for a bite to eat.

 This was already common knowledge in the Middle Ages. South Tyrol probably witnessed its first tourist season as early as 800 years ago. Even farmers went "to the baths". The hay baths and hay flower fragrance-infused saunas were well-known all over the area. A bath cost 12 kreutzer and they helped against rheumatism, caries of the bone, gout and sciatica. And thus the spa town of Merano came into being."

In the past, both locals and guests used these baths up to five times a day. And: because the water sapped their strength, they also ate heartily after each bath - "according to some reports which have been handed down to us, the bathers in all their innocence and joy, consumed up to a dozen hearty meals a day. The numbers of those who died of strokes during the course of treatment may have been relatively high". (Andreas Hellrigl) - In the fine SPA facilities of Vinum Hotels South Tyrol, things are naturally much quieter, more relaxed ... and probably also much healthier "onwards – to the spa area"!

The November Wine Letter is dedicated to relaxing wellness & wellbeing, SPA resorts, farmer’s baths in South Tyrol!