My trip around Alto Adige: three days in South Tyrol

Historical background of South Tyrol 

About two weeks ago we left Milano to begin a new journey with @visitsouthtyrol to discover Alto Adige wines. The trip consisted of three days visiting different wine producers of the Caldaro area as well as learning more of the history and tradition of this special region. 

View over Caldaro lake

Alto Adige is an autonomous province of northern Italy, also called South Tyrol. Historically, this area had been extremely important for its strategic geographic location. In fact, the city of Bolzano is very close to the Brennero Pass, used since middle ages to go from northern to southern Europe and vice versa. The actual name South Tyrol was created from a portion of the County of Tyrol, an important state of the Austro Hungarian Empire.

Anyway, nowadays there are three main ethnical groups there: 63% of the population speaks German, 23% of the population speaks Italian, 4% speaks Landin (a native language), 10% of the population speaks another language.

Franz Haas

As we arrived in Bolzano we moved to Montagna, a beautiful village just above the wine city of Termeno (30 kilometers south from Bolzano). After a quick lunch, we headed towards Franz Haas Winery, one of the biggest and renowned producers of #SouthTyrol.

First days of harvest

We arrived in the core of the harvest period. Grapes were already arriving to the winery and the air was full of a beautiful smell of berries.

Franz Haas Winery has always been working to enhance the special terroir of this area. The practice both in the vineyards and in the winery aim to transfer the characteristics of the terroir to the wine.

The vineyards are located around three cities: Egna, Montagna and Aldino. They start at an altitude of 240 meters reaching about 1.150 meters. Such a height variation creates a multitude of microclimates and areas, the same grape variety can vary a lot among these areas. Which is by far the most extraordinary trait of this land. During summer periods, the temperature in the day rises quickly becoming very hot. Oppositely, during the night the temperature decreases a lot creating a huge variation.

Vinothek Pillhof

After the long day, for dinner, we went to a beautiful restaurant and wine bar called Vinothek Pillhof, in Eppan. There we enjoyed a modern cuisine based on South Tyrol products, tasting both Alto Adige wines as well as many others 😉 We had such a great night, highly suggested place.

Kettmeir Winery

The second day, after a beautiful breakfast in our hotel, we head to the second winery of the tour: Kettmeir. Famous for its sparkling wines, Kettmeir produces both Metodo Classico and Metodo Charmat. It was founded in 1919 by the oenologist Giuseppe Kettmeir and since then it has been producing great quality wines.

Athesis Brut and Athesis Brut Rosé

These wines go through couple years of yeast fermentation in the bottle, resting in the quite and peaceful cellar of the winery. Between the two I preferred the Rosé, a 100% Pinot Noir fermented in bottle for at least 22 months. The wine has this attractive peachy color with a beautiful and fine perlage. The nose is fruity but well balanced with some more complex spices and some notes of lees.

Among all the wines, by far, my favorite wines were the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Maso Reiner vineyard. This special vineyard is located over a calcareous and clayish terroir, giving the wine a great minerality and suiting it for long aging periods.

The Chardonnay, wisely aged in French durmast barriques, is very diplomatic and extremely elegant. The nose is fresh and mineral, but absolutely well amalgamated with that buttery note; I love it. The use of wood grants the wine an incredible level of aromatic complexity, maintaining though its freshness and high drinkability.

From the same vineyard, Maso Reiner, we have the other top wine of the winery: the Pinot Noir. I’m sure it doesn’t need any presentations 😉 It was great!

The Wine Hike

Later that day we stopped tasting wines to join a group-hike in the vineyards around the city of Cortaccia, one of the main villages of the “Alto Adige wine trail”. The whole city lies in the middle of a vast wine area, it took us only a couple of minutes to leave the city center and get lost in a beautiful “wine paradise”.

VINEYARDS ARE EVERYWHERE and the views you get there are absolutely epic. We walked around 4 kilometers, in the meantime, we spotted almost every single variety typical of this area: Schiava, Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Moscato Rosa.

Take a look to these shots! As you can see we are on one side of the valley, on the other side, a bit norther you have the village of Montagna where we went the other day. That bell tower is the end of Cortaccia and the beginning of the vines.

Final thoughts

Alto Adige is such a beautiful region! As I said on our Instagram, it was my absolute first time there, and I had a blast! I started this journey without having an idea of what I was about to discover and learn. I didn’t know anything about the wine culture neither about the historical background of this amazing region. This is a very special land worth to visit and discover, Alto Adige wines and food are great, views are even better! What else do you need?! 🙂

Thank you again to Sud Tirol for inviting us and bringing us around this land! Hope to be back soon!

Hope you guys enjoyed this little “board diary” of the trip, you can leave a comment below to tell us what you think of Sud Tirol!!!