Friday, June 7, 2013

Guild of Sommeliers Alto Adige Master Class: The red wines

On Thursday, May 16th, Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth led a Guild of Sommeliers Master Class on wines from the Alto Adige (Südtirol) region. The tasting component of the class was divided into white and red flights of five wines each. I covered the white-wine tasting in a prior post and will discuss the red wine tasting herein.

First up for the red wines was the 2011 Cantina Bolzano Santa Maddalena Classico Huck am Bach. Cantina Bolzano is the result of a 2001 merger between the producers of Gries (in business since 1908) and Santa Maddalena (a going concern since 1930). The Co-op has one location in Gries and one in St. Magdalena and draws upon 320 ha -- at elevations ranging between 240 and 800 m -- in eight vineyards for its fruit. The grapes for the subject wine is sourced from the Huck am Bach vineyard which is located on a south-facing hill at 330 m on ice-age moraine and sandy soils. The wine is made from 90% Schiava and 10% Lagrein, with the selected grapes subjected to "traditional" red wine fermentation and aged in large wooden barrels.

Notes: Low color concentration. Floral and expressive. Light-bodied. Low tannin. Tame red fruit. Unusual texture. Clean and elegant. Andrew McNamara found this wine to be "muskier and funkier" when he went back to it and the end of the tasting. $18 SRP.

Consolidation appears to be the rage in Alto Adige. Nals Margried, producer of the 2011 Schiava Galea, is a 140-grower Cooperative which resulted from the 1985 merger of The Cellars Nalles (in business since 1932) and Magre-Niclara (1954). Growers farm 150 ha of vines at 200 - 900 m elevation using natural methods and Pergola and Guyot training. The philosophy of the winemaker (Harald Schraffl) is to preserve the characteristics of the soil and variety as embodied in the fruit brought to his cellar door. This wine is 100% Schiava made from hand-harvested, rigorously selected grapes that were produced by 100-year-old vines resident in the Galea Vineyard. The grapes were macerated for 6 days in cement tanks prior to fermentation with cultured yeasts. The wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation and then spent 5 months on the fine lees. The wine is aged for 5 months in large oak barrels and then spends a further 2 months in bottle. A total of 35,000 bottles were produced in this vintage.

Notes: Different color and flavor profile than the Cantina Bolzano. Red fruit with some pungency. Freshness. Appealing finish. SRP $22.99.

Cantina Andriano (2011 Cantina Andriano Pinot Nero) was founded in 1893 as the first wine Cooperative in Alto Adige and was purchased in 2008  by Cantina Terlano. The Andriano vineyards are protected to the west by Mt. Gantleopl and eroded sedimentary rock from this dolomite peak has been deposited at the base of the winery's valley providing excellent soil for vine-growing.  Grapes for the subject wine are sourced from the Mazzan Vineyard, a 500-meter altitude vineyard which, as a result of its height, gains access to a lot of sunlight. The vineyard has a northeast-southeast exposure and sits on red clay and lime soils which are seeded with calcareous dolomite stones. Yield is 90 hl/ha. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in large oak barrels.

Notes: Smokiness on the nose. Dark, brooding, spicy character. Non-complex. Rhubarb, sour red fruit, cranberry. One taster compared it to an Oregon Pinot of 20 - 30 years ago. SRP $23.

The 2011 Elena Walch Lagrein Selezione is sourced from vineyards that sit at 300-m elevation on limestone soil high over Lake Caldaro. In addition to the Lagrein, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also grown here. The wine is 100% Lagrein and was fermented over 10 days in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation occured in large wooden oak barrels with aging in barriques.

Notes: Color concentration. Violets on the nose along with a spiciness. Full-bodied. Dark fruits. Medium tannin and acidity. Good texture. SRP $15.

The 2010 Manincor Lagrein Rubatsch is sourced from a 400-year-old estate currently owned by Count Michael Göess Enzenberg. The biodynamic estate covers 463 ha of orchards, vineyards (five), woodlands, and meadows. The Lagrein is a blend of grapes from the Rubatsch (two-thirds) and Seehof (one-third) vineyards. Rubatsch is located in Terlano, is southwest-facing, and sits at 250 meters elevation on sand mixed with eroded porphyry soil. Seehof is located in Kaltern and sits at the same elevation as Rubatsch but its soil is sand and clay mixed with limestone gravel. The grapes are fermented (two weeks) with natural yeasts in open-top oak vats during which process the cap is punched down to ensure full capture of color and flavor. The wine is aged for 14 months in 1/10 new oak barriques.

Notes: Extracted color. Over-the-top vanilla. Dill. Rioja-like oak. Pure fruit. Unbalanced with dominance of acid, oak, and tannin. Long-lived. Will pair well with heartier dishes. SRP $39.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

No comments:

Post a Comment