Trentino Alto-Adige is the home of the breath-taking Dolomite mountain range. The area has a complex mix of Italian and Austro-Hungarian heritage. The ethnic and linguistic differences as well as the pedoclimatic characteristics led, in time, to an important personalization of the wine production. The wine quality is outstanding, due in part to the geographical position and climatic conditions both along the Adige Valley and in the hilly areas around Trento and Bolzano.
Mozart loved Marzemino’s violet scent
Viticulture in the area dates back to the times of ancient Rome, but it’s clear that the first cultivation of the vine was introduced by the Etruscans. In the Middle Ages, winemaking caught the interest of large ecclesiastical organizations and in the eighth century, bishops and monasteries from Bavaria and Swabia bought large vineyards in Trentino Alto-Adige to cultivate and produce wines for their own needs and religious practices.
History shows that Lagrein, Schiava and Gewürztraminer grapes were cultivated in Trentino Alto Adige, together with other indigenous varieties. The wines were appreciated everywhere in Europe and some of them, such as the aromatic Traminer, were mentioned in the 'Book of Nature' written in 1349 by Konrad of Menghenberg. Similarly, the Marzemino was mentioned in the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart, as he liked the typical scent of violet
During the Habsburg Monarchy, wine production flourished in Trentino Alto Adige and experienced considerable notoriety abroad thanks to the imperial family. Phylloxera in the early 1900s created less damage than the annexation of Trentino Alto-Adige to Italy, which caused a steep decline in production and trading.
A rebirth of the local viticulture came in the early 1980s, with the adoption of strict quality criteria. Today it demonstrates the continuous commitment of producers in Trentino Alto Adige, making it one of the best wine areas in Italy, both for the production of white, red and “metodo classico” sparkling wines.
Trentino Alto-Adige – terroir helps producing aromatic wines
The area is overwhelmingly mountainous and hilly which helps to diversify the climate in relation to the orographic characteristics. The climate and is in close proximity to Lake Garda which is ideal for the cultivation of Chardonnay and Merlot.
The diverse range of the mountain, steep slopes and valley floor transforms the climatic situation from very cold temperatures and an Alpine continental climate to a more temperate climate in the Venetian Prealps, in Vallagarina and in the Adige Valley where Calcareous soils are located. Pebbled and gravelly soils in combination with the sub-continental climate give structure and longevity to the Teroldego Rotaliano DOC and Vini delle Dolomiti IGT wines.
Internationally acknowledge for its high-quality wines
The region is internationally recognized for its high-quality wines, especially the ones produced with grapes such as Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, which prefer cold areas. Although many 'international' varieties are grown in Trentino Alto-Adige, the region is also interesting for the heritage of native grapes including Teroldego, Schiava, Marzemino and Lagrein. Some top wines may be aged in oak, with a preference to old small oak barrels and only a small proportion being new to add layers of vanilla, spice and even some toastiness to the final products.
The Peler and Ora winds have an important impact as they change the temperatures of the Valle dei Laghi, allowing the Nosiola grapes to dry perfectly in the racks and vinify an excellent Vino Santo. In the Cembra Valley, the viticulture is ideal thanks to good soil drainage and the Alpine climate that generates a wide diurnal range between day and night which makes the growing season longer and helps the grapes with the aromatic and acid components that are pleasantly found in several wines including Müller-Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, etc.
The emphasis in whites is on preserving fruit aromas and flavours so most of them are vinified in stainless steel vats. They may be briefly aged on the lees and sometimes in oak to add to the body and aroma complexity.
Do you know by which method the Trento DOC wines are made?
In terms of sparkling wines, a Trento DOC produced with the metodo classico is very pleasant in combination with typical cured meats and other local dishes. The wines show ripe yellow apple, pear, citrus notes but also biscuit and other autolytic aromas.
Do you know the grape variety from which Vino Santo is produced?
Nosiola is one of the most famous and interesting native white grapes of Trentino, bringing out interesting dry wines and in addition the famous Vino Santo - which must not be confused with the Vin Santo produced in Toscana.
In Trentino the must is fermented in small wooden barrels and left to mature for four years, giving life to a full-bodied, elegant a rich sweet - wine with a long finish. However, in Alto-Adigge the sweet wines we find are made with Moscato Giallo and Rosa grapes, with an unmistakable aroma of strawberry and rose. Moscato Rosa wines are made by late harvest or appassimento method and they are rare and premium priced.
Concentrated and elegantly balanced aromatic whites. Lively sparkling and refined fruity reds.What are the most popular grape varieties in Trentino Alto-Adige?
For sure the indigenous black varieties like Teroldego, Schiava, Lagrein and Marzemino. The local white Nosiola gives wonderful sweet wines.What types of food works well with wines from Trentino Alto-Adige?
Light reds: chicken salad sandwich, burger night Full-bodied reds: barbeque and roasted duck. Whites: creamy lobster roll, grilled chicken and Asian cuisine.