Where else but northern Italy can you find such a delightful mix of German and Italian? Okay, maybe in Switzerland, but the appellation rules there are quite different.
Today I have the pleasure of doing a video tasting note for a delightful wine made from a seriously underestimated, ancient grape variety: Vernatsch. Specifically, a wine made from 100% Vernatsch, from an inter-regional appellation called Kalterersee.
We are in the northeast of Italy. For this particular wine we are in Südtirol (known as Alto Adige in Italian), south of Bozen (Bolzano), on the shores of a smallish lake. In German – the language most people here would describe as their native tongue – the lake is known as the Kalterer See. In Italian, it is called Lago di Caldaro. In English, you can find both Lake Caldaro and Lake Kaltern.
This DOC is made both in Südtirol and in the neighbouring province of Trentino (in five communes), but the “Classico” area is all in Südtirol. The rules are simple: the wines must be made with at least 85% Vernatsch, with the remaining 15% permitted to be composed of Lagrein or Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir).
The wines are best drunk young and cool. What a relief! I get tired of having to try to find wines with age. And these wines, when they are good, offer pure pleasure.
A wine estate with a long tradition and history on the shores of the Kalterer See, and is currently owned by the Count von Kuenburg – the latest in a series of aristocratic hands to own the estate. The single parcel of vines hat are the source of this wine – the Bischofleiten – was owned by the Bishops of Trent already a thousand years ago, and is one of the best vineyards site in the region. This wine, the Bischofsleiten, is one of the estate’s top wines, and is one of the finest wines from the DOC.