Every spring & fall, Gina builds her repetoire of where to take her Seattle wine tourists when she makes her Premier Vineyards Tours to Italy each year. She’s there now, and here’s what we heard from her on Day #1 when I checked in Friday night (via Viber) to see if she had arrived. She immediately buzzed back with:
Awake in Alto Adige! Holy Moses, this is the most beautiful wine region I’ve even seen! Haven’t been to Germany yet, though. A sneak peak:
We barely made it there! We were exhausted, flew from Atlanta to Zurich, the we had a 6 hour drive to Alto Adige, then straight into a 4-hour tour with Castelfeder. Tell Jens the drive through the Alps was like nothing I’ve ever seen – so beautiful!
Nestled in the most northern part of Italy bordering Austria, Alto Adige is special. Though it is a part of Italy, it has a complicated past with its history bonded to Austria until the early part of the 20th century. (Note: Alto Adige is also known as Südtirol or South Tyrol.) This was definitely different for me to experience. I haven’t quite mastered Italian yet, so it was extra challenging for me with the added German that everyone spoke. (Jens, you would have been handy on this trip!) My first day, we visited one of our direct imports, Castelfeder. Castelfeder is named after this historic hillside in the middle of the valley. This family-owned winery is now run by 3rd generation Günther Giovanett, his wife, Alessandra, winemaker son, Ivan (this makes 4th generation) plus his daughter, Ines, who is currently living in San Francisco expanding their brand.) We had the pleasure of having Ines at Portalis a few weeks ago for a tasting of their wines. If you missed it, she’ll be back!)
Günther met us on his bike. What an awesome guy! He gave us a 2-hour vineyard tour. Here he’s pictured center with me (left) & Paul Zalgar (right), one of his growers:
He then dropped us off with his son, Ivan, who’s the winemaker at the estate:
He gave us an awesome 2-hour winery tour & tasting. So wonderful of them since it’s harvest and such a busy day for them at the winery. Here’s a beautiful shot of the winery with the mountains behind:
Come by Portalis and taste their remarkable wines for yourself! We currently pour Castelfeder 2011 Grauvernatsch/Schiava Grigio “Kegl” at the bar by the glass & we carry 4 others:
Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Bianco “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Grigio “15”
Castelfeder 2011 Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti “Lahn”
Castelfeder 2011 Lagrein “Rieder”
Cheers from the road; I’m off to enjoy some local food now that I’m dialed into the wine! ~Gina
Gina has been the Store Manager at Portalis Wines since we opened in 2003. In addition, she’s a sommelier, the wine buyer at Bisato & several years ago she started Premier Vineyard Tours, where she takes Seattlites on wine tours to Italy.