The Alto Adige may be politically and geographically part of Italy, but its wines exhibit an attitude born of altitude that is decidedly continental. Nestled in the visually stunning Valle Isarco is the 900-year-old Augustinian monastery of Novacella, surrounded by vineyards in which grape varietals of Teutonic lineage abound – Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Muller-Thurgau….and Kerner.
Kerner is a cross of Riesling and Trollinger (aka Schiava). Italy’s northernmost winery in the rough granitic soils achieves a triangulated balance of aromatic complexity, freshness, and depth.
Extremities of climate and terrain have imbued this wine with a crispness and distinction that mark its place of origin. Mountain flowers and cool weather spices on the nose become mildly sweet on the palate. Sharp, tangy acidity and minerals are a counterpoint to a creamy, Riesling-like texture enhanced by hints of citrus. There’s a wave of chalky, Gewurzy warmth meandering through the background.
A lot is going on here, all of it good. This is what you serve to those who still believe that comparably priced white wine from Italy begins and ends with commercially produced Pinot Grigios.