Known as “the other side of Italy,” Südtirol is Italy’s northernmost province and Südtirol’s vineyards account for less than 1% of Italy’s total vineyards. Yet, a whopping twenty different varieties of grapes are grown in Südtirol’s steep vineyards. Wine has been produced in Südtirol for centuries and has distinct German and Austrian influences from the region’s long history under the rule of Austria-Hungary and Holy Roman Empires. Even though it was the mid of winter during our visit to Südtirol, we tasted Südtirol wine at a fantastic boutique hotel high up in the Dolomites.
Klaus Alber, owner of the wonderful mountain hideaway called the Miramonti Boutique Hotel, ensures his hotel has only the best regional wines. He personally conducted a tasting for us in the hotel’s farmhouse-styled restaurant. We tried a rose, 3 whites and 4 reds.
We started off with Franciacorta Brut Rose, which is a blend of Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. With how much we enjoyed the Swiss Pinot Noir, I knew we would like it before we even took a sip. The Franciacorta Brut Rose is a sparkling wine, though not as dry and slightly sweeter than a Prosecco.
We followed up the Rose with several whites including a 2011 Anselmi produced from 100% local grapes and a 2007 Sauvignon. Both were light and fruity, though we weren’t fans of either.
The 2009 Amistar Weib paired nicely with bresola, air dried beef that Klaus squeezed fresh lemon juice over and suggested we top with freshly ground black pepper and the finest olive oil from Tuscany. The Amistar is 40% Pinot Blanc and 60% Chardonnay, best served at 12°C.
It was then time to move on to the reds and what turned out to be our absolute favorite Südtirol wine. Aged a minimum of 20 months in oak barrels and produced by a small farmer in Südtirol, the Neidermayr 2008 Blauburgunder Pinot Nero Riserva was fantastic. Pinot Noir is known for causing near-obsession among its collectors and we may just be falling prey to this grape. The oakiness was just made even better by our Appenzeller cheese raclette. Ah, heaven in a glass.
A few more reds followed, but for us, they didn’t stand a chance against the Neidermayr 2008 Blauburgunder Pinot Nero Riserva.
Know Before You Go
- Wine tasting is on Wednesday at Miramonti Boutique Hotel and should be reserved in advance. €20 per person.
- Miramonti Boutique Hotel also has a wine tour with lunch at a castle. Inquire with the hotel for prices and availability.