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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Vinous: "A wine of precision and nuance, the 2015 Terlaner Classico once again shows why this is one of Alto Adige's most compelling and delicious wines. The Pinot Blanc/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend that has worked so well here for decades yields a white endowed with striking focus. White flowers, lemon peel, ripe orchard fruit, apricot pit, almond, mint and chamomile form a super-appealing fabric of aromas, flavors and textures. There is a lot to like here. The Terlano has a level of precision that none of these varieties show on their own. Then again, that ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "The nose on this sauvignon is reserved with white peaches, daisies, mint and some apple skin. The palate is balanced with compact yellow fruit flavors but lots of depth and a persistent textured finish." (11/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Winkl is one of my absolute favorite Italian white wines and the current vintage is even better than most. The 2015 Alto Adige Sauvignon Winkl is a soft and creamy expression with loads of aromatic definition and depth. The bouquet peels back to reveal thick layers of stone fruit, acacia honey, toasted almond, wild sage and crushed mineral. Think ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "Fresh and lively Pinot Grigio with sliced apple and pear character, medium body, and plenty of nice fruit." (11/2016)
Two-thirds of wine production in Alto Adige is controlled by cooperatives, and Erste e Neue is an old cooperative dating back to the year 1900 in the Caldara area. Hundreds of growers' grapes find their way to Erste e Neue to produce quality wines from their sub-alpine terroir near the Mediterranean's Adriatic Sea. From Erste e Neue: "The Pinot Grigio is graced with lovely purity in its clean, focused fruit. There is a wonderful warmth that radiates through the wine even if this remains a fresh, mineral-driven style of Pinot Grigio."
94 points Vinous: "Bright, dark golden-yellow color. Very intense aromas of ripe yellow apple, pear, chamomile and white flowers. Rich, dense and juicy, with orchard fruit and botanical herb flavors complicated by a savory element. Finishes long and almost creamy (despite 6.4 grams per liter of total acidity, expressed as tartaric), with hints of lime and custard cream. Undoubtedly, this rather richly styled Vorberg will remind many drinkers of a wine made from Chardonnay. This vintage is especially successful in the context of the very difficult growing season, which was ...Read More »
In the northern, alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige Italy, German and Italian mix not only in place names, but also grape varieties. Kerner is a relatively new grape (developed in the 1960s) that is a cross between Riesling and the local red grape Schiava. Though something of a mongrel in terms of ancestry, in the right hands, such as those of the very capable people at Cantina Valle Isarco, it produces a full-bodied, un-oaked wine full of vibrant fruits, ethereal floral highlights and aging potential. A strong, spicy wine to enjoy with charcuterie and... Read More »
Christian Kerschbaumer is a young winemaker and proprietor of Weingut Garlider in Alto Adige's Eisack Valley. English wine writer and critic Stuart Pigott writes: "His white wines are of a very special class... The Grüner Veltliner is also dynamic, yet more athletic and stress-laden, the aromas come from the glass: with wonderfully ripe, yellow fruits, but also cool, slightly iodine spice, which unfolds with every sip. Almost as if a primordial sea were breeding against the alpine pastures! When the vines grow older and this wine gets a bit more deep, a ... Read More »
Italy known for good, large co-operative wineries. (A few good co-ops exist in other regions, but not lots of them in one region.) This top-notch wine comes from the co-op Erste + Neue, which is right in the center of Caldaro, one of the small towns on the "Wine Road" south of Bolzano. They make the range of white wines that you would expect, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (and an excellent Müller Thurgau). Gerhard Sanin, the enologist for E+N, favors a bright, restrained winemaking style that really allows this place and these varieties to shine.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* You’ll need to swirl the glass a few times to release the enticing scents of yellow stone fruit, Alpine herb and an intriguing smoky note. The savory vibrant palate is more expressive, delivering layers of crunchy green apple, zesty tangerine and juicy yellow peach set against crisp acidity. A flinty mineral note graces the lingering finish, lending even more depth." (4/2017) 92 points James Suckling: "A beautiful white with exotic fruit and intense bitter lemon rind character. Medium body, lovely fruit and a bright, crisp finish." (11/2016)
Erste e Neue is a highly revered co-op located high up in the Mediterranean Alps in the Alto Adige region of Northeast Italy, where it is famous for producing racy, refreshing, and mineral-driven white wines from the varietals that thrive there. A cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale, Muller-Thurgau is one of the more widely planted cross-bred varieties in Germany, possessing Riesling's hardiness and intense fruit but with the genes for earlier ripening. This is a fragrant, fruity wine, with soft floral and citrus aromas and flavors, accented by hints ... Read More »
Two-thirds of wine production in Alto Adige is controlled by cooperatives, and Erste e Neue is an old cooperative dating back to the year 1900 in the Caldara area. Hundreds of growers' grapes find their way to Erste e Neue to produce quality wines from their sub-alpine terroir near the Mediterranean's Adriatic Sea. This Lagrein was fermented in stainless steel before maturation in large wooden casks. A dark garnet color introduces a bright cherry-driven nose. The cherry fruit reverberates on the palate with fine tannins and cocoa powder.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Editors’ Choice: Crisp and delicious, this elegant wine delivers aromas and flavors of green apple, crushed stone, ripe pear and a hint of pastry cream. Bright acidity lifts the creamy flavors while a tangerine note gives it a clean mouthwatering finish." (4/2017) 91 points James Suckling: "A subtle and interesting pinot bianco with sliced pear and mineral character. Hot stones too. Medium body and a fruity and refined finish." (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "A vibrant white, with racy acidity and stony minerality driving the flavors of Honeycrisp apple, orchard blossom, pickled ginger and pink grapefruit ...Read More »
Vinous: "The 2013 St. Magdalener Classico stands out for its texture and polish. Sweet tobacco, crushed flowers, mint and dried cherries lift from the glass in this super-classic, mid-weight Alto Adige red. The 2013 is quite pretty, not to mention a terrific example of Schiava. (AG)" (5/2015)
Aged 13 years in oak barrique, this spellbinding grappa is a blend of a variety of grapes from the region. The aromas are of toasted oak, vanilla bean, coffee and chocolate.
94 points Vinous: "Terlano's 2012 Lagrein Riserva Porphyr is darker and inkier than the Riserva. It also captures more of the blue/purplish notes that are so typical of Lagrein. Cloves, licorice, graphite and menthol add the final shades of nuance. As always, Terlano presents a distinctly tamed style of Lagrein, but at the same time, all of the elements are very nicely balanced. What a gorgeous wine this is. (AG)" (5/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "An inky red, with mineral and graphite notes lacing flavors of black currant and plum pie, licorice and fig cake, this is well-knit and mouthwatering, an ...Read More »
Lagrein is an ancient grape variety that finds its home in the sunny vineyards of Trentino-Alto Adige in northeastern Italy. Its wines are strong and full bodied with plum and wild cherry flavors, and the variety is particularly well known for the deep, dense color it imparts on wines. Lagrein has a characteristically north-Italian fresh, acidic structure and a slightly astringent finish, making it best paired with food.
98 points Wine Enthusiast: "The intriguing bouquet offers aromas that include leather, candle wax, flax and earthy scents of moss, grass, stone and damp soil. Entry is lusciously ripe and intensely grapy; the midpalate features the ripe grape element. Finishes satiny and stone-like. Delicious." (8/2008)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Alto Adige Valle Isarco Sylvaner (with a glass cork) delivers musky aromas of lavender soap, white flower and jasmine potpourri. There’s a distant note of petroleum at the back. In line with the grape’s natural characteristics, the mouthfeel is fatty, soft and thick. (ML)" (9/2014) K&L Notes: Christian Kerschbaumer is a young winemaker and proprietor Weingut Garlider in Alto Adige's Eisack Valley. English wine writer and critic Stuart Pigott writes: "His white wines are of a very special class. The Sylvaner has a creaminess, saltiness and freshness, which gi... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Cantina Terlano shows great results with its red wines as well as its cool climate mountain whites. The 2013 Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva Gries is a soft and luscious rendition that delivers plump cherry flavors with blackberry and dark plum. Soft tannins give the wine a less formal approach. (ML)" (7/2016)
In case you are like most folks out there, and you have no idea what Kerner is, here's a little background: Kerner is a relatively new grape (developed in the 1960s) and is a cross between Riesling and the local red grape Schiava. Though something of a mongrel in terms of ancestry, in the right hands, such as those of the very capable people at Cantina Valle Isarco, it produces a full-bodied, un-oaked wine full of vibrant fruits, ethereal floral highlights and aging potential. A strong, spicy wine to enjoy with charcuterie and sausages or sashimi!
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The initial bouquet features scents of ripe, juicy, just-picked raspberries; following aeration the aroma turns jammy and concentrated, balanced by a brambly quality. Entry highlights more of the ripe raspberry fruit than jamminess; the midpalate features solid, authentic raspberry flavor with high acidity. Ripe aftertaste works well." (12/2008)
Silvaner is something of a quiet achiever. It is an underrated, neutral-scented, white-wine grape used widely in western Germany, and just across the Rhine in Alsace (where it is spelled Sylvaner). But! Tiny quantities can also be found in Alto Adige, northern Italy, where it is a specialty of the Isarco Valley. Silvaners in the Isarco Valley area are typically much lighter and crisper than their counterparts from Alsace and Franken, with faint citrus notes and a hint of pale honey.
With a distillery founded in 1898, the Poli family has been a Veneto mainstay since the 1400s.
97 points James Suckling: "Aromas and flavors of blueberries, blackberries and cherries follow through to a full body, round and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. A big and rich wine with so much density and complexity. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Better in 2020." (11/2016)
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The opulent bouquet features scents of pear fruit and nutmeg. Entry is ripe, properly acidic, tart to off dry and balanced; the midpalate is pleasingly fruity, a touch baked and a bit minerally. Ends up medium-sweet and tasting of peel and fruit meat. Elegant, true to the source and concentrated." (12/2008)