AA Stands for Alto Adige
There’s a new AA in town. They haven’t organized meetings in church basements everywhere yet, but they do have a 12 Step Program. Saluté!
12 Steps of Alto Adige
1.We admitted we are powerless over the delicious wines, food, and scenery of Alto Adige. Our obsession was becoming unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves, the overall winemaking community of AA, could restore us to sanity.
Online wine education giant Snooth even made it possible via a Virtual Tasting with their editor and some AA experts. The footage (and details on the next round) can be found on their website.
3.Made a decision to learn more about all things AA.
Mountainous topography, great skiing, tiny villages, delicious and atypical food, and a sexy mélange of Italian accents? Sign me up.
- We decided to start with the food.
Speck, bologna’s much sexier cousin, is a regional specialty along with luscious hot chocolate desserts, and over 250 varieties of mushrooms.
5.We took geography into account.
Despite being nestled deep in the Alps and Dolomite mountains, a wide variety of grapes (red and white) are cultivated in AA. The trick is how high up the slopes the vines are planted. The elevation, coupled with sun exposure, soil type, and wind conditions are all key factors in the development of the grapes and subsequent deliciousness of the wine.
- We recognized Pinot Grigio as the most widely grown white grape in the region.
Castelfeder 15 Pinot Grigio was an exciting, surprisingly full example from this mountainous region. With floral, citrus notes and a hint of sweetness 15 leapt out as a different type of Pinot Grigio. Like a woman who hits the gym but keeps her curves, it wasn’t defined by being lean but by a juicy personality and food friendliness.
- We paid homage to the indigenous Lagrein grape variety.
Chewy, grainy, plummy and hearty fruit flavors swarmed my tongue with every gulp of Manincor 2010 Lagrein. Ideal with a hearty beef stew or other mountainous, cold-weather fare this Sud Tirol variety is on the up in restaurants and my favorites list.
8.Professed our love to Pinot Nero, the grape formerly known as Pinot Noir.
Though it may only account for about 7% of AA ’s area under vine, this hard-to-grow superstar is still a core variety of the micro-climate-filled region. Tramin’s 2010 bottling of the variety was a light ruby juice, with dark earth, cedar and vanilla aromas (the heavenly combination I seek out when popping open a bottle with dinner) and its rustic, almost grainy texture on the palate didn’t disappoint, especially alongside peppery grilled pork and roasted vegetables.
- Admitted that while Pinot Bianco and Pinot Blanc are the same grape, their styles can vary widely.
The Peter Zemmer 2011 Pinot Bianco I sipped balanced fruitiness with earth on the nose, and in my mouth. Prolonged citrus scents kept more than its golden hue very light–perfect as an aperitif or with simple roasted poultry.
- Admitted to God and ourselves that we still have a lot to learn about the Northern Italian region.
Rivers fueled by Alpine snows sculpted Alto Adige at least as much as the medley of German, Austrian, and Italian cultures. Over 50% of the population is German, and industries like mining, metal work, and agriculture round out the local economy.
11.We vowed to appreciate the scenery and history as much as the wine.
Any region tossed back and forth between the Holy Roman Empire, Austrians, and ‘Italianized’ by Mussolini must have a few things going for it.
- Made a Pilgrimage to the Alto Adige Region to explore in style.
Alto Adige Uncorked:
Laura Loves: That the majority of AA’s 160+ producers are small, family run operations.
This blog post, which highlights the value and uniqueness of the region.
Fun Facts: Because of the large German popluation, street signs in AA are in both Italian and German.