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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Wines of the Sudtirol/AltoAdige/Trentino - November 5, 2007


We tasted tonight (11/5/07) some wines of Sudtirol/AltoAdige/Trentino :

  1. Weingut Niklas DOC: Sudtiroler Sauvignon Qualitatswein b.A. (13%;www.Niklaserhof.It)
    : Light gold color; attractive very minerally some herbal/SB bit steely/chalky rather interesting nose; tart/steely very minerally slight herbal/SB/floral flavor; long steely/minerally light herbal/SB finish; very low-key SB character and loads of Sudtirol minerallityt/terroir; lovely/interesting white. $20.00
  2. Foradori Myrta IGT: Vigneto Delle Dolemiti Bianco (60% SauvBlanc, 20% IncrocioManzoni,
    20% PinotBianco) 2004
    : Light gold color; strong cat pee/herbaceous/SB slight steely/metallic slight floral/honeydew nose; softer/rounder slight floral/honeydew/honeysuckle very slight earthy flavor; med.short soft/melony/honeydew slight herbal/SB finish; loads of SB character in nose but a bit washed out/dilute on the palate w/little minerality; pleasant wine but just that. $17.00
  3. Thurnhof GoldMuskateller DOC: Sudtirol (12.5%) 2003: Med.gold color;light fragrant/floral/ muscatty some minerality/earthy interesting nose; bit lean/bitter light minerally delicate floral/ muscatty flavor; long slight bitter lovely minerally/floral low-key muscat finish; lovely low-key muscatty character w/ nice touch of minerality; very attractive Muscat. $15.00
  4. St.Magdalena DOC: Sudtirol/AltoAdige Goldmuskateller (12.5%) Bolzano 2006: Med.gold color;much more strong/floral/intense muscatty bit simple nose; rather sweet straightforward/
    strong muscatty/floral bit simple flavor; long rather sweet/soft very strong floral/muscatty finish; much more intense muscat character & a bit on the simple side and not much minerality showing; pleasant Muscat but just that. $15.00
  5. Cesconi IGT Traminer della Venezie (14%) Pressano 2004: Light gold color; lovely fragrant/
    perfumed/GWT/lychee/spicy/cheap hair oil slight earthy/minerally beautiful classic GWT nose; soft beautiful spicy/GWT/very perfumed/floral slight minerally flavor; very long/lingering very spicy/floral/ GWT/lychee light minerally finish; loads of spicy GWT character w/ nice touch of minerality; a spectacular GWT at a great price. $18.00
  6. AloisLageder Vogelmaier MoscatoGiallo DOC: AltoAdige MoscatoGiallo (13%;
    www.AloisLageder.EU) 2006
    : Light gold color; some earthy/dusty slight floral/minerally bit tight/ closed slight cheap hair oil nose; light floral/muscattyslight earthy/dusty flavor; long rather muscatty/floral some earthy some bitter finish; low-key muscat on the nose but fairly strong muscat flavor. $25.00
  7. Gries PinotBianco Dellago DOC: AltoAdige (13%) 2006: Med.gold color; rather minerally/earthy steely/valve oil low fruit simple nose; soft light floral/melony slight minerally/earthy flavor; very long/lingering low key floral/melony/ripe light minerally finish; rather shy on the nose but very nice flavor; nice wine at a great price. $15.00
  8. Cesconi Prabi Bianco IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti (13.5%;www.SummaVitis.com; PinotBianco/
    Chard/Traminer) 2004
    : Med.light gold color; lovely floral/perfumed/aromatic almost spicy/GWT nose; soft/fat bit dilute/watery glycerined floral/fragrant/perfumed big/ripe fruit flavor; med.short soft/fat/very ripe rather floral/perfumed finish; the Traminer seems to dominate; lots of ripe fruit but lacks the minerality I expected. $21.00
  9. St.Magdalena DOC: Sudtirol GWT LateHrvst Kleinstein (15%) 2003:Med.dark gold color; very
    intense/spicy/GWT/nutmeg/lychee/hair oil slight cabbagy/reduced beautiful/complex/powerful nose; slightly off-dry very intense/spicy/GWT/nutmeg/lychee/floral some minerally slightly bitter flavor; very long/lingering intense/spicy/nutmeg/cinammon/lychee/GWT/floral some minerally slightly bitter finish; a spectacular VendangeTardice GWT at a terrific price. $23.00
  10. Cantina Produttori Bolzano LaPergola IGT Vigneti Delle DolomitiRosso
    (13%; Lagrein) 2004
    : Very dark color; rather buttery/slight oak strong dusty/earthy some
    blackberry/licorice/tarry slight rustic/horsecollar nose; tart rather licorice/blackberry bit tarry rather earthy/dusty quite rough/rustic flavor; rather long hard/tannic/astringent quite earthy/dusty slight tarry/licorice finish; rough/rustic red w/ loads of terroir; reminds me a lot of ElDoradoCnty reds; good peasant wine for the price. $14.00
  11. St.Magdalener Classico Huck am Bach DOC: Sudtirol/AltoAdige (13%; 90% Vernatsch or
    Schiava, 10% Lagrein) 2006
    : Med.light color w/ slight bricking; light floral/perfumed rather fruity/Beaujolais bit earthy/minerally nose; soft rather earthy/dusty quite fruity/ Beaujolais/floral/ grapey flavor; med.short fruity/Beaujolais/grapey somewhat earthy/ dusty finish w/ little tannin; a nice/pleasant Beaujolais-like red. $15.00
  12. Castel Sellegg Lago di Caldero-scelto Classico Bischofsleiten (12.5%) Kuenburg Graf
    Eberhard/Bolzano/AltoAdige 2003
    : Very light color w/ some browning;pretty/fruity some
    earthy/dusty light Beaujolais-like slight cabbagy nose; tart light fruity/Beaujolais low fruit some earthy/minerally flavor; med.short dusty/earthy light fruity/Beaujolais finish w/ little tannins; not a lot of fruit and rather earthy. $16.00
  13. St.Magdalena DOC: Sudtirol Lagrein Riserva Taber (13.5%) 2004: Very dark/black color;
    some toasty/charred/Fr.oak almost Cab-like some earthy/dusty/rustic black cherry/tarry/licorice complex nose; tart earthy/rustic/rough/dusty some tarry/licorice/black cherry loads of toasty/ Fr.oak/smokey flavor; very long very toasty/charred/Fr.oak somewhat licorice/tarry/black cherry finish w/ some tannins; needs 2-6 yrs; loads of toasty oak and a bit international in style but good minerality and terroir character. $35.00
  14. Cesconi Pivier Vignetti delle Dolomiti (100% Merlot) 2000: Very dark/black color; strong black cherry/black curranty/Merlot strong toasty/Fr.oak bit minerally/earthy nose; tart strong black cherry/blackberry/licorice slight tarry very toasty/oak some earthy/dusty/minerally flavor; long toasty/Fr.oak rather blackberry/black cherry/licorice finish w/ fair tannins; needs several yrs yet; lovely Merlot character w/loads of terroir/minerality. $32.00

And the usual rants from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. SummaVitis: This is an importer of Italian wines run by Matthew Fioretti that I stumbled
upon a few weeks ago when I had an Italian wine that really impressed me and saw the name on the back label. It is based out of Sonoma w/ a facility in NYC as well. Matt specializes in small Italian winemakers, many making wines from aucthonous (however the heck you spell that name) grape varieties. I was pretty impressed w/ his list, saw a lot of new producers I'd never heard of, and saw a bunch of things I was dying to try, so ordered a case and half from them. Unfortunately, four of the btls I wanted were only in the NYC warehouse, which can't legally ship to NewMexico.

When I talked to Melissa on the phone at SV about the partial order, I explained that it wasn't that important that I get the wines. But she insisted that it WAS important to her that I get what I ordered & pledged to see what she could do. Sure enough, the next week the
remaining btls showed up on my doorstep. Somebody in the NYC office had schlepped them
across the river and UPS'd them from NewJersey.

The SV wines I tried in this tasting were pretty impressive, all producers I was not familar with. Particularly the Cesconi and St.Magdalena wines were terrific. And the prices were very reasonable. I'm going to be keeping my eye on this importer a lot more in the future.
2. Goldmuskateller: This is the same variety as the MoscatoGiallo. A bit like the Orange Muscat (Fior d'Arancio), it has a very low-key Muscat component and not so nearly
overpoweringly Muscat like Muscat of Alexandria. Nice variety. They should be planting
this in Calif....harvest at 28Brix, barrel ferment in new Fr.oak, lees stirring, full ML, age in new Fr.oak...they could be making world-class Goldmuskateller in Calif.
3. GWT: I am finding some of the best GWT in the world these days are coming from the
Sudtirol..birthplace of the variety. In an era when so many of the Alsatian GWTs are moving in the direction of off-dry/soft/fat wines w/ gobs of hedonistic fruit, these Italian versions, with a slight minerality, are much more to my taste and more food-friendly. The St.Magdalena/ Kleinstein GWT is one of the most spectacular GWTs I've had of late...reminiscent of some of my GWT icons...Dopff Eichberg '71, Bott Freres RP '76,ClosGaenesbronnel '59...back when a VendageTardive was a REAL wine..not a very sweet dessert wine like most of them are these days.
4. Schiava: This is the most widely red variety in the Sudtirol and used to represent the
majority of their red production; most going to Swiss and German drinkers. Now it appears
that Lagrein is taking over so you can get more extract and gobs of hedonistic fruit to please the critics and sell on the international market. There appear to be a number of Schiavas. Schiava Grossa and Schiava Gentile and another one I seem to recall. Not sure that there's any real differences and just assume they are clones of each other. Oliver McCrum likens it to the pre-DNA confusion over Sangiovese clones. In the Sudtirol, the German speakers also call it Vernatsch. In the Baden region of Germany, it is known as Trollinger. It also appears to be known as Black Hamburg, as distinguished from Muscat Hamburg, which is used in the Quady Elysium and is distinctly Muscat.
5. The Sudtirol is a region that has made some amazing improvements in the quality of their
wines over the last decade, along with Friuli. Some of the whites from here are world-class and some of the finest in Italy. It's a shame if the Schiava dies out there, but the international market seems to demand bigger wines and Lagrein seems to be the Sudtirolers answer. Some of the Pinots can be quite good as well.


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