Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy’s northernmost Region

Photo: Schloss Tirol bei Meran in Südtirol Herbert Ortner, 5 Aug 2005

Northern Italy is one region of Europe that has been home to a host of different cultural changes throughout history. Known by different names depending on which language you are speaking, this northernmost region of Italy is also a renowned wine region. Even though the region is technically located within the country of Italy, Alto Adige inhabitants most commonly speak German.

First named during the Napolonic area as the “Department of Alto Adige” the name Alto Adige continued throughout the First World War. Following WWI, South Tyrol was adapted as the name of the region in order to promote ‘Italianization’ of the country. The region was required by the then fascist regime to resume speaking Italian, and all signs throughout the region were changed to reflect this as well. Following the war, South Tyrol was declared part of Italy by the Allied forces, but required the German speaking population to occupy high government posts in the region.  Following 1945, this area went though multiple disagreements, until it was declared an autonomous state in 1992. Currently, Germans refer to the region as “Autonome Provinz Bozen — Südtirol”.

The entire region is surrounded by mountains; creating an excellent environment for grapes to grow. It’s one of the smallest wine making regions in Italy, but there are many wineries here that have been making wine for multiple generations. Origins of Alto Adige winemakers have been traced back to before the Roman era. Today, about 70% of wine making production is within cooperatives.

Popular white varietals within the South Tyrol/Alto Adige region are: Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Also found within this region are Gewurztraminer (which takes its name from Tramier, a town within Alto Adige), Sylvaner, Muller-Thurgau, Kerner, Veltliner, and Riesling. As for reds, the most common varietals found are Schiava Grigia (25% of all grapes planted), Lagrein, Cabernet Sauvignan, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

Alto Adige is gaining international recognition for its aromatic white wines, and velvety red wines. J. Strecker Selections (sister import company to Portalis) has recently brought in a few wines from Alto Adige, from the winery Castelfeder. Here are a few of our favorites available now at Portalis:

Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Bianco “Vom Stein”
$18.99 | INSIDER $17.99 | Mixed Case $15.19
A lively wine with balanced acidity, delicate fruit and floral notes, with hints of mature apple flavors on the nose. Delicious with asparagus, seafood, and lighter cuts of meat!

Castelfeder 2011 Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti “Lahn”
$22.99| INSIDER $21.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Fresh and aromatic, this wine has high acidity with a spicy aftertaste (perfect for many different kinds of cuisine!)

Castelfeder 2010 Lagrein Alto Adige DOC “Rieder”
$20.99 | INSIDER $19.99| Mixed Case $16.79
Full of harmonious and soft tannins on the palate, this is an intense and complex red wine perfect for red meats and roasts.

We also carry 3 other wines from this producer:
Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Bianco A lot “15er”
$18.99 | INSIDER $17.99 | Mixed Case $15.19
Castelfeder 2011 Grauvernatsch/Schiava Grigio “Kegl”  
$17.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59

If you’re interested in tasting/purchasing any of these wines, please contact us at:
Portalis Wines
5205 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle WA 98107