On March 2nd I was delighted to attend the Alto Adige Grand Tasting and Seminar in San Francisco. It may be a sign that I am at the right place, working at a University Press, but this was one of my favorite wine events so far this year. Not just for the wines, but for the pre tasting seminar, which allowed me to learn about the region. Alto Adige is not an area that I know very much about and I appreciated the opportunity to learn and taste.
The seminar featured winemakers and Wolfgang Weber as a moderator. Wolfgang is someone I'd be happy to work on a book with in the future (and I was pleased that our wine editor spoke with him). I must admit that my coworker and I did get a slight chuckle out of the fact that the panel included not just 3 men named Wolfgang, but a count as well. I wondered if that was an SF first.
The University press nerd in me enjoyed hearing facts such as:
While the region represents only .7% of Italy's wine production, over 90% of its wine merit a DOC designation.
15 cooperative wineries produce almost 70% of the region's wines.
Alto Adige is the oldest wine producing region of the German linguistic area.
After Wolfgang W's intro to the region we tasted 4 of the major grapes of the region with the winemakers: Pinot Bianco, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Nero and Lagrein. My favorites of this portion were
the Lun Gewurztraminer 2007 which had both richness and minerals, and a surprising 15.1%
Manincor Pinot Noir Mason 2007 which I found jammy on the nose but with great structure in the mouth. This is a biodynamic wine and it was fascinating to hear the winemaker talk about their effort to "create healthy vineyards."
After the seminar Blake and I headed in for the Grand Tasting. As always, I make no effort to taste everything, instead relying on reccomendations and feedback from other tasters. My highlights for the day were:
Manincor Chardonnay Sophie 2006 and Merlot Castel Campan 2005 were both wonderful. The chard was buttery, but still structured. Again, these are biodynamic wines.
Moscato Giallo Passito Sandbichler 2007 from H Lun which was truly lovely. At $75 it is a bottle I could not enjoy often, but is truly worth seeking out.
Cantina San Michele/Appiano Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Elena Walch Gewurztraminer 2008 and Beyond the Clouds 2007 I enjoyed both of these very much. The Gewurzt had a great nose and a strong finish. The Beyond the Clouds, a chardonnay blend was memorable. They are both have amazing aromatics but also great balance.
Colterenzio Sauvignon Blanc: No notes, but I marked two stars
If I missed any highlights please let me know. This is an area I'd love to visit and look forward to learning more about.