October Wine Letter - "The right conditions and you’re laughing!"

Great South Tyrolean wine varieties and location potential
 
 
"The grape varieties of Tyrol consist solely of succulent, early-ripening grapes (...). They hold a considerable amount of tartaric acid but very little free acidity; they are completely lacking in perfume, often also in body; they are mostly of low tenability, hence the extremely insignificant demand. (...) The base wine is abundant, but has no bouquet, is thick and not durable. The grape varieties, must production and vinification leave much to be desired and are the cause of the fact that Tyrol produces so many weak acidulous wines." This is as far as the devastating judgment of a certain Dr. Hamm from Leipzig goes who visited and described the wine country of South Tyrol in the distant year of 1865. Since then, the wine region south of Brenner has developed sensationally – as a result of strict location selection, variety selection and quality selection, South Tyrolean wines have long been one of the permanent fixtures on the best wine lists in the world! The VINUM-Hotel Südtirol-Wine Letter in October presents premium locations and leading varieties.

The first cadaster for vineyards was created in France in 1855. The French set their demarcation lines for the classification of locations even more accurately than their German or Austrian colleagues. - "on these gentle sloping hills, the Riesling zone in Wachau slowly tapers to an end" is hardly a conceivable sentence for a French wine book. Good French vineyards end (almost) always abruptly - according to the proud motto: right up to this point the wine world is perfect, (and then) no French wine grower would ever plant a grapevine 4 meters further to the left of the ditch. Fortunately, no such severe rigour prevails in South Tyrol. Just consider the example: if Mazon (Neumarkt) alone possessed the Premier Cru status for Pinot Noir, without including Pinzon (Montan), whose locations virtually are "four meters to the left of the ditch", but whose quality is on a par with the Mazon wine. South Tyrol has a long-established, autochthonous grape variety, which preserves its identity primarily through its location: it is the V-e-r-n-a-t-s-c-h. It exists as Kalterer See, as St. Magdalener, as Meraner Hügel, as Bozner Leiten and as South Tyrolean Vernatsch. Each one of them has its own distinctive, even "Frenchly-stubborn" character.

Curiously, Pinot Blanc was introduced more or less exactly in the middle of the 19th century approaching South Tyrol from the north at the same time as from the south. Pinot Blanc in South Tyrol was "unwittingly" a blend wine for 130 years, made using Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. Why "unwittingly" a blend wine? Quite simply because Chardonnay was unknown as a separate grape variety and was almost always cellared as "yellow Pinot Blanc" together with "real" Pinot Blanc. The first single varietal Chardonnay, labeled as Chardonnay didn’t exist until 1978.
When referring to the unmistakable origin of a wine, the French speak of "terroir". The best terroir of the autochthonous Lagrein variety is the alluvial-rich soil of Bolzano-Gries where this earthy-spicy, dark red South Tyrolean parade wine thrives. Here, it develops its intricacy of fruit remindful of forest berries and its almost French elegance. The most expressive Gewürztraminers arise in their home town of Tramin or more precisely in the Söll district of Tramin at an elevation of over 400 meters and on chalky clay soils. On this very terroir, the unmistakable garland of scents of the most aromatic white wine in South Tyrolean comes into being: the best Gewürztraminers smell of rose petals, taste of lychees, yellow peaches, acacia honey and have an extremely soft, intense and almost endless finish.
 
 
The VINUM-Hotel - November Wine Letter:
Merano Winefestival - the South Tyrolean gateway to the greatest wines in the world

The Meran International Winefestival is just around the corner, as colossal as the late Hannibal's elephant - like a tasting machine, several commissions have selected the best bottles from more than 4,000 wines over the course of the year and which are now being offered by winegrowers and cellarmen at the Meran Kurhaus. The numbers and order of events are huge, pharaonic, close upon unmanageable –Waiting in the Kurhaus for VINUM-Hotels Südtirol guests are: 500 winegrowing Enterprises from home and abroad in the Wine section, 50 wine Producers bio&dynamica, 90 master hand-crafted delicacies in the Culinaria section, over 1 dozen distillers (Aquavitae&Liquores), 10 breweries with home-made beers (BeerPassion), 10 WineResorts, 1 GourmetArena. Nothing but superlatives.