Glas with Red Wine

Alto Adige – now in wine red

The return of Alto Adige's reds

The story of Alto Adige's red wine is one of constant flux. Originally the poster child of Alto Adige's winegrowing, these reds had increasingly gained in quality in the course of the radical volume reductions that occurred in the 1980s. The success of this policy nevertheless began to falter as Alto Adige established itself ever more as a land of white wines. The range of varieties in Alto Adige grew and the classic reds gave way to whites. The noble red wines are today experiencing a comeback, however, with their quality celebrated and reputation restored.

These fine reds feel particularly at home in the terroir in and around Bolzano and near Mazzon in the area known as the Bassa Atesina, where the climate is ideal.

Typical of Alto Adige are the red wine varieties Schiava (Vernatsch) and Lagrein, which originate from Alto Adige and are thus called indigenous varieties. Other red wines such as Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet are also grown in the optimum conditions to be found in Alto Adige.

  • Schiava / Vernatsch

    Mentioned in writing towards the end of the Middle Ages, this indigenous variety has played an important role in Alto Adige's winegrowing since the 16th century. Its hallmarks are light, low-tannin wines with a moderate alcohol content and an individual character that typifies the region. It is marketed in different forms, such as Santa Maddalena, Lago di Caldaro and Meraner.

    Schiava makes a first-class accompaniment to food: it goes particularly well with a typical South Tyrolean Brettlmarende, which includes cured ham (speck), cold cuts and cheese.

  • Lagrein

    This indigenous variety has its roots in Bolzano. It possesses aromas of fruits of the forest, cherries and violets, with a velvety richness and soft acidity on the palate. Aging of the wine in oak barrels gives the top selections a special character. The rosé version is known as “Lagrein Kretzer”.

    Lagrein pairs well with game, dark meats and hard cheeses. Lagrein rosé, on the other hand, is best served with more strongly flavoured starters, smoked fish or white meats.

  • Pinot Noir

    This elegant red variety has been cultivated in Alto Adige since the middle of the 19th century. It unfolds its full potential in medium to high locations that are not over-dry, which result in well-structured wines with a notably intense bouquet of red and dark berries, spices and violets.

    Serve with game, wildfowl, suckling lamb, rabbit, roast meats or hard cheeses.

  • Merlot

    The red Merlot grape was first planted in Alto Adige some 120 years ago. This early-maturing variety is particularly at home in warm locations, on deep, loamy soils where fruity, flavoursome and full-bodied wines with a southern charm and soft, ripe tannins can be produced.

    Game, wildfowl, meat dishes and hard cheeses pair well with this wine.

  • Cabernet

    Grown in Alto Adige for some 150 years, consistent yield reduction has now led to Cabernet producing aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries and various spices. A hint of pepper lends it complexity, while its dense structure makes Cabernet one of the longest-lived of Alto Adige’s red wines.

    Best served with wildfowl, lamb, meat dishes or hard cheeses.
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