Cantina Bolzano

This estate represents the joint efforts of two of Alto Adige’s most historic coops—Santa Magdalena, est. 1930 and Cantina Gries, est. 1908 after they merged in the 60s. While the estate is famous for lagrein their vineyards run from 200 to 700 meters above sea level and they make a wide range of wines. One quickly forgets all the misgiving about coops when at Bolzano, feeling much more like a family run property, in large part because Klaus, the current General Manager, is the 3rd generation of his family to hold that title and has worked at the winery since he was 14. What stands out with Bolzano is the good nature of everyone that works there combined with a borderline militaristic commitment to quality and tradition. Their winemaking team has identified key targets for their growers from phenolic ripeness, to acid to yield per acre and they created massive incentives for growers to aim for quality over quantity.  Every batch of grapes entering the winery is given a grade on arrival and what the farmer receives can be 10X for hitting key quality targets. In an era of cult winemakers in garages focusing on one or two varietals, Bolzano stands out to what a teamwork can accomplish.  They make a wide range of wines and from their bulk table wine to their top cuvee everything stands out for top quality and value.

Wines

Südtirol Alto Adige Kerner

Varietal: Kerner

Color: White

Farming Practice

The variety Kerner is a hybrid of Schiava and Riesling, first cultivated at the viticultural school of Weinsberg, Germany in 1930. The vines thrive on the light, gravelly and sandy soils of the Isarco river valley. This wine is sourced from the cantina’s very highest vineyards, all above 600 meters above sea level up to 800 meters. The temperature there can be 10-15 degree cooler on average compared to the valley floor, especially at night. All stainless steel fermented in vats kept at a very low temperature to emphasize the fresh flavors in the wine.

Südtirol Alto Adige Lagrein ‘Perl’

Varietal: Lagrein

Color: Red

Farming Practice

Lagrein, native to Alto Adige, is thought to be closely related to grapes such as Teroldego and Syrah. It is here in Bolzano where it finds its greatest expression. The Perl comes from a single vineyard near the valley floor at 250 meters that sits on gravelly/sandy soils. This is a warm microclimate with very high daytime temperatures that plunge at night- allowing for optimal ripening. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel before ageing first in botti then neutral barriques. Sustainable.

Südtirol Alto Adige Lagrein ‘Taber’

Varietal: Lagrein

Color: Red

Farming Practice

Sustainable. 100% Lagrein. Taber can make a very strong claim to being the best Lagrein in the world. Sourced from the 1.5 ha Taber vineyard which is located within the city limits of Bolzano at the bottom of the valley. 90-100 year old vines trained in a double pergola system. Sandy, porphyry & alluvial soils. Cover crops are kept between the rows. Lagrein produces very long clusters so the “tails” of most clusters are trimmed to allow for optimal ripening on the rest of the bunch. Hand-harvested & fermented in a mix of large wood and stainless steel. Racked after fermentation to both used and new (1/3) and used (2/3) barriques. Lagrein is a typical South Tyrolean variety, which thrives on the plains of the Bolzano valley, and its surroundings, benefitting from the strong temperature differences between day and night. Only old vines are able to yield a wine of this extraordinary quality. Approx annual production: 600-700 cs.

Südtirol Alto Adige Muller Thurgau

Varietal: Muller Thurgau

Color: White

Farming Practice

Müller-Thurgau is a Riesling and Madeleine Royal hybrid, named after its cultivator, Prof Hermann Müller from Thurgau (Switzerland). Like its parent Riesling it can be very aromatic. This wine is sourced from the cantina’s very highest vineyards, up to 800 meters above sea level on soils of volcanic porphyryr mixed with gravel, sand & clay. The temperature there can be 10-15 degree cooler on average compared to the valley floor, especially at night. Harvest can range from mid September to mid October depending on the exact site. All stainless steel fermented in vats kept at a very low temperature to emphasize the fresh flavors in the wine. Sustainable.

Südtirol Alto Adige Pinot Grigio

Varietal: Pinot Grigio

Color: White

Farming Practice

Grown on the slopes surrounding the town of Bolzano, vineyards sit between 500-700 meters in elevation, mostly southern facing terraced slopes of alluvial and gravel soils. First pressing juice only, the wine is fermented and aged in temp controlled stainless steel tank. Aromatic to the point it’s bordering on floral, the wine is bright and complex. This wine consistently shows what this varietal is capable of when it’s planted in great terroir and isn’t over-cropped or over-ripe. Sustainable.

Südtirol Alto Adige Sauvignon Blanc ‘Mock’

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Color: White

Farming Practice

This is one of the benchmarks for Sauvignon in Italy since it was first produced in 1987. Sourced from a single vineyard named Mock whose vines are over 60 years old. High-altitude vines (500-600 meters above sea) level cling to incredibly steep slopes composed of volcanic porphyryr mixed with sand and clay moraine soils. This is a warm microclimate within a cold area that gives huge day/night temperature fluctuations which SB needs to thrive. Hand-harvested, pressed, settled, and fermented in stainless steel. Sustainable.

Südtirol Alto Adige St. Magdalener Classico ‘Huck am Bach’

Varietal: Schiava, Lagrein

Color: Red

Farming Practice

Santa Maddalena Classico is its own DOC in the heart of Bolzano. By law the wine must be 90% Schiava (aka Trollinger) and 10% Lagrein. This combination works to add a touch of richness and body to the normally bright and aromatic schiava. The vineyard is a large slope scaling from 250 meters to 500 meters, with the Lagrein grown on the lower portion of the hill. These are old vines averaging between 40-50 years old. Soils of eroded quartz porphyry mixed with sand and clay. This is a one of the rare wines from Bolzano that is fermented in large botti instead of stainless to add extra richness. The wine is aged in large oak vat for at least a year before release. The result is a medium bodied but highly aromatic red that is quite light in color. People love to compare Nerello Mascalese to Pinot Noir when talking Italy, but this wine is certainly another that should be used in that comparison. Sustainable.

Südtirol Alto Adige Weissburgunder (Pinot Bianco) ‘Dellago’

Varietal: Pinot Blanc

Color: White

Farming Practice

In Alto Adige it is Pinot Bianco (or Weissburgunder) that the locals drink, with nearly 80% of this wine consumed locally. Introduced first here by Austrians in the mid-1800s, Pinot Bianco thrives in the steep slopes of Sudtirol. Grown on the slopes surrounding the town of Bolzano, vineyards sit between 500-700 meters in elevation, mostly southern facing terraced slopes of volcanic porphyryr mixed with gravel, sand & clay. First pressing juice only, the wine is fermented and aged all in temp controlled stainless steel tank. Sustainable.

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