Pfannenstielhof St. Magdalener
In the new edition of the leading Italian wine guide from Gambero Rosso twenty-seven Alto Adige wines are awarded the coveted “Tre Bicchieri” (Three Glasses). A confirmation and a great success for the Alto Adige wine sector.
Alto Adige’s white wines dominate the scene: seventeen of a total of the twenty-seven new “Tre Bicchieri” wines are whites. Alto Adige Pinot Bianco sets the tone. Until a few years ago stepchild of the wine sector, the sympathic local hero has once again achieved to get on the top with four “Tre Bicchieri” wines. In second place rank Sylvaner and Riesling with three wines each, followed by two Gewürztraminer and two Sauvignon two, a Müller Thurgau, a Terlano and a white blend.
With Alto Adige’s red wines, particularly the indigenous varieties come away with honors, as in previous years. Again two Schiava wines succeeded to get in the Olympus of Italian wine world, strengthening the renaissance of the most cultivated grape variety in Alto Adige. They are followed by four Lagrein, two Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir. Among the sweet wines the Moscato Giallo Passito Serenade 2012 from the Cantina Kaltern Caldaro is on the top of the ranking.
Alto Adige’s „Tre Bicchieri“ Wines for 2016
Located on the slopes just north of Bolzano, at the intersection of the Adige and Isarco Rivers, is the Alto Adige Santa Maddalena DOC wine zone, known also as the Sudtirol St. Magdalener in this region of dual identities.
This wine zone is produces red wine from the native Schiava grapes, also known as Vernatsch. These wines are blends, containing up to 15% of other varieties of grapes, most commonly Lagrein, another native varietal, as well as Pinot Noir. Typically, these wines include at least 5% Lagrein.
These wines are difficult to come by in the US, but a recent trip to Alto Adige presented me with an opportunity to try a St. Magdalener wine from Pfannenstielhof. This is a family-run winery that has been producing wines since at least 1561. These use exclusively their own grapes to produce their red wines - St. Magdalener Classico, Lagrein, Lagrein Riserva, and a Pinot Noir. Their motto is “As much as necessary, but as little as possible”, and they strive to produce wines that are true to their beautiful terroir and native grape varieties. Their dedication paid off in 2009, when their St. Magdalener was awarded the coveted Three Glasses from wine guide Gambero Rosso.
Vineyards outside of Bolzano
Their St. Magdalener Classico is a blend of 95% Schiava with 5% Lagrein. The Schiava grapes are grown in Rentsch, near Bolzano, on the sunny southern slopes of the RIttner Mountain. It is a bright ruby red, with hints of floral and cherry fruit on the nose. It is crisp, lively, and full of cherry flavor, with just a bit of acidity and tannin to balance. A dry, persistent, lightly elegant finish. I enjoyed it with the local cheese, Ortler, grilled and served with a warm cabbage salad. It would also pair well with roasted white meat, or lighter red meat dishes.