Commence Pizzeria Ortica Wine List Education Project. Entry 001: Cantina Bolzano (Kellerei Bozen) Huck Am Bach (German: By the Riverside).
Italy can be tricky, but when you get to Alto Adige
, (German: Südtirol
South Tyrol) you might really be scratching your head. It’s not all that bad once it’s really explained, but figuring it all out can be pretty daunting. So I’ll do my best to shed a little light on the subject and hope to gain more insight myself. The region is primarily German speaking due to its Austro-Hungarian roots
. Although geographically Italian, the street signs, wine labels and everything else are printed in both Italian and German. So with that….
Kellerei Bozen, or Cantina Bolzano. Kellerei and Cantina effectively mean the same thing; “winery or cellar”. Bozen and Bolzano also are the same name. Now, the history behind this producer has an interesting combination of culture as well. Two of the oldest co-ops, Cantina Gries and Santa Magdalena merged to create this fantastic house in 2001. With over 200 farmers growing for Santa Magdalena alone this house has a clear advantage over the quality of its product. Selectively sourcing fruit and paying farmers above the average has really shown up in the glass. Al this is managed by a gentleman named Klaus Sparer who has been with the winery since he was 16 years old.
The wine is primarily made from Schiava, aka Vernatsch, aka Trollinger. A lovely varietal of light body and huge aromatics. More noticeably responsible for one of the most genius crossings on the planet, Kerner. A touch of Lagrien is blended In as well to round out the depth of the wine, another very popular varitelal grown in the area. With Bolzano being one of the hotter villages in all of Italy the fruit here gets super ripe. Not to mention the ideal aspect and incline of the vineyards here sit up some 200+ meters above sea level giving it a much cooler over all temperature and dramatic dinural swings from night to day ranging up to 20°C lending a generous hang time for the grapes or longer ripening period all the way up to mid October when it’s harvested.
All this leads to, in my mind a very under appreciated and very impressive display of nature and talent working beautifully together.
Notes of almond blossom, rhubarb, marzipan and overt bing cherry jump right up into your olfactory. On the palate the acidity takes a surprisingly subtle back seat to the big fruit and mild tannin stricture being shown. Subtle hints of tobacco and venison are hardly worth mentioning but, they’re there if you look for them. Quite in line with the mild oak regimen, aged up to 3 months in 7hl barrels before bottling.
It drinks like it wants to be chilled down and, really, not thought about too deeply, but it does so in a way that evokes elegance and poise.
An obvious local favorite and everyday drinker. Traditionally paired with anything smoked, mainly prosciutto (speck) and really, anything “gamey” or in hard cheese form. All I want is charcuterie.