The capricious weather in 2017, above all else the frost and hail, left its mark in Alto Adige's vineyards, especially in terms of quantity. All in all, though, 2017 presents itself as a good vintage with convincing levels of quality and with quaffable, inviting wines that are typical for Alto Adige.
A Vintage with Challenges
After a very dry, cold winter, it was already extraordinarily warm by the end of March. That led to a very early start to vegetation and a quick sprouting of the grapes. The sudden cold spell during the nights around April 20 with a late hard frost in some areas had a considerable detrimental effect upon some vineyard areas throughout the entire province.
There was, however, one small consolation for the winegrowers: in 2017, there were hardly any problems with diseases such as Peronospora or mildew or with the dreaded spotted wing drosophila. Hailstorms greatly affected primarily communities in the Bassa Atesina and Isarco Valley. Winegrowers had to do laborious work in the vineyards to select and remove the damaged grapes. But the intensive labors ultimately contributed to it being possible to pick grapes of good quality without exception.
The grape harvest in Alto Adige's vineyards began approximately ten to fourteen days earlier than in a normal year, already around August 20. After several days of rain at the beginning of the harvest, the autumn weather, with temperatures during the day of up to 30° C. (86° F.) and at night below 20° C. (68° F.) had a positive effect. All across the board, Alto Adige's winegrowers and winemakers were very satisfied with the quality of the grapes that were harvested.
Surprisingly Good Qualities
After the very good 2016 vintage, with its juicy, lively, and multilayered white wines and the promising, structured red wines, Alto Adige's wine industry is also more than satisfied with the 2017 vintage. The losses in terms of quantity of up to 20 percent and more may have left a bad taste in some mouths, but the quality of the wines is consistently good to very good.
With the white wines, the vintage presents itself with somewhat leaner but very elegant, fresh and fruity, juicy wines with aromas that are typical to their varieties. Those that particularly stand out are the Pinot Blanc, as well as the Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Müller Thurgau, and Sylvaner. The Schiava (Vernatsch), along with the Santa Maddalena and Lake Caldaro made from it, showed itself with somewhat lighter hues and fruity and fresh qualiteis, and although it may be somewhat leaner, the drinking enjoyment is all the more inviting. And presenting themselves as elegant, with a great deal of finesse and elegant tannins, are not only the Lagrein, but also the Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet.