We continue on our journey through Italy with a stop in the gorgeous region of Trentino-Alto Adige. This beautiful nook is the northernmost region in Italy, bordering Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Austria.
Technically, it is composed of two provinces that have a complicated political history, but in 1919 Trentino (which was once part of Austria) became united to Italy. Now, they make up one lovely wine region that speaks two languages: Italian and German.
One of the remarkable traits of Trentino-Alto Adige is the climate and terroir. With Switzerland and Austria to the north, it’s protected from cold winds by the Alps. However, it also benefits from the warm, humid air that comes off of the Italian lakes to the south. This makes it a region that is technically both Mediterranean and Alpine, an unusual but beneficial combination. Not to mention that it gets over 300 days of sun per year which, combined with the temperature and moisture levels, creates an ideal climate.
This area doesn’t get a lot of love in regards to wine recognition but it happens to produce some of the world’s best Pinot Grigio, which also happens to be one of the lesser-loved wines. It might get a bad rap because of some American commercialized brands but in Alto Adige, this crisp white is absolutely delightful.
White grapes make up a majority of the plantings in Trentino-Alto Adige, with a large portion being the Pinot Grigio but closely followed by Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay. Reds are less common overall as far as varietals although the Schiava (Vernatsch) is planted to the same abundance as Pinot Grigio, but Lagrein is more notable.
Schiava is a light red that is low in tannins but when slightly chilled, has a gorgeous acidity. Picture a day out in the warm sun looking at the alps, sipping on a glass of this. Lagrein is a truly beautiful red wine that is full of spicy notes and fruits like cherries and berries. It’s a wildly underrated red but the benefit of being less famous is it tends to be more affordable!
This region’s wines may not be as easy to find because of the popularity compared to places like Tuscany or Piedmont but if you can, it’s worth it.
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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