Suditrol: Alto Adige Revisited

Last fall a batch of sample bottlings from this northern Italian region arrived for review.  They impressed well enough, but in retrospect were merely a warm up for this year's array. 

The diversity of wines coming from this foothill area is impressive.  Reds and whites alike are striking for their clarity and freshness, with al dente acidity a common thread across all varieties.  What's even more attractive about these wines is that they represent a categorical value.  As we head into autumn, the smart wine shopper will dispense with preconceptions and explore the vast drinking pleasures of Sudtirol.

Editorial preference leans toward the Schiava and Pinot Grigio.  Yes, really.

2013 Kellerei Kaltern Campaner Vernatsch Schiava $12
Gorgeous and luminous in the glass with a light red color that refracts like a precious stone.  Similarly fleet-footed in the mouth, but packing multiple (pleasurable) dimensions of flavor and acidity. An attention-getting experience made all the more repeatable with its modest (12.5%) alcohol.  Must. Find. More.  Soon. Outstanding value!

2009 Elena Walch Lagrein Riserva 'Castel Ringberg' $36
So, this is why people swoon when talking about this grape. Occupying a panoramic range of flavors and aromatics, this wine delivers a dizzying kaleidoscope in full-blown Technicolor. While light on its feet, it has the acidity and profundity of a much bolder wine.

2012 St Michael-Eppan Sauvignon Blanc 'Lahn' $18
Energetic and nearly vibrating with fresh grass cut flavors. Lean and with a strong acidic thread to keep it clean and sharp. Brilliant wine.

2012 Tiefenbrunner Turmhauf Pinot Blanc 'Anna' $15
More sharp and crisp. Focused, lean, and reflective of higher altitude provenance. That said, it is not without varietally correct fruit character. Definitely one to accompany a meal to offset its edges, rather than a front porch quaffer.  One would think this wine had even more vigor when slightly younger.  Another smoking value. 

2013 Castel Sallegg Pinot Grigio Pulvernal' $15
Want to know what Pinot Grigio is really capable of? You've got to go to mountainside vineyards lined with gravely stone.  Though the nose on this is initially off-putting, the palate more than makes up for it. Lacy acids lead the attack, then ease into the background while a welcoming, round fruit core takes center stage.  The lingering floral aromatic after taste makes this wine a complete package.  Equally at home as an aperitif or seafood pasta accompaniment.  Definitely not the Ladies' Book Club PG.  I really like drinking this wine.