Alto Adige is in the northern part of Itay's Trentino-Alto Adige region, also known as Südtirol. It borders Austria on the northeastern side, Suisse to the west, and Trentino to the south. The German heritage is strongly present in the language and culture, since it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of the First World War. After the defeat of Austria-Hungary and the allied German Empire, Südtirol was given to Italy in 1919. The postwar fascist regime conducted a campaign of forced Italianization in the region, which created resentment and tension among the local population that lasted well into the second part of the last century. Today Trentino-Alto Adige is a region with a special statute that protects the cultural and lingual diversity of the inhabitants. Bolzano, or Bozen, is the only province of Südtirol, as Trento is for Trentino.
The Trentino-Alto Adige territory is markedly alpine and mountainous, with the Rhaetian Alps and the Dolomites as a natural northern border. The abundant streams coming down from the mountains mostly funnel into the River Isarco which flows in turn into the River Adige, creating the Adige Valley that cuts in two through the region. The peculiar geographic and territorial configuration of the region dictates an economy based on alpine agriculture, with a livestock sector that feeds the local dairy industry. The Dolomites and several national parks attract many visitors all year round, making tourism a fundamental source of revenue as well.
The wines of Trentino-Alto Adige are also becoming relevant to the economy of the region. Every year more people are coming here to discover the rich eno-gastronomic offerings. The viticulture in the area goes back to pre-Roman times, but it’s never been an easy task. Since the territory is without hills or plains, vintners are forced to use the steep slopes of the valleys, creating terraced vineyards in the limited areas that offer good sunlight exposure and shelter from the north winds coming down from the Alps. Mechanical farming is impossible, so here every task is manual, and this, along with the specific terroir, makes the wines produced even more unique. A stoic labor of love to reward those who love not the obvious.
Auf guten Wein anstoßen!
(Let’s drink to good wine!)
Elio Longobardi, Italian Wine Specialist
PlumpJack Wine & Spirits – Noe Valley
About the Winery: Prackwieser Gump Hof is located within the steep slopes of Suditrol’s Isarco Valley. Vineyards are situated at soaring altitudes ranging from 1150-1800 feet above sea level. The estate’s five hectares of vines are dedicated to Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Schiava, and Pinot Noir farmed with sustainable practices.
Since 2000, Markus has been responsible for the Gump Hof Estate winery in Fiè, and since that time, along with Günther Kerschbaumer of the Köfererhof and Christian Plattner of the Ansitz Waldgries, Prackwieser forms a wine trio that exchanges information, consults with each other, and makes use of synergies.
About the Winemaking: Weissburgunder is the German name for Pinot Bianco. This wine comes from the Praesulis selection, named from the ancient Presule castle nearby. The grapes are hand harvested, gently pressed, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then aged in big Slavonian oak barrels for eight months.
Tasting Notes: Light straw yellow with greenish reflections. The sensorial olfactory approach detects a rich fruit bouquet of mango, apricot and guava wrapped by a refreshing herbal vein. In the mouth the fruity sensation is underlined by a crunchy acidity. The finish is long and clean.
Winemaker: Marcus Prackweiser
Price per bottle / Price per case
Suggested Food Pairing
Tuna carpaccio; grilled shrimps; tagliatelle with chantrelle mushrooms and peas; goat cheese.
Region: Alto Adige
About the Winery: It’s been over fifty years since Rolando Fugatti and his wife Giuliana, urged by their passion, created the Roeno winery. Sited at the border between Veneto and Trentino, in Terra dei Forti Valdadige subregion, today the winery is led by their two daughters, Roberta and Cristina, and by their son Giuseppe.
Roeno makes several white varietals and a white blend named for Cristina, but their primary focus is on the cultivation and production of three native red varietals, Teroldego, Marzemino, and an almost extinct grape known to Pliny the Elder, Enantio.
Valdadige Terradeiforti obtained the DOC status in 2006 mainly for saving from oblivion the Enantio grape, known also by the name of Lambrusco a Foglia Frastagliata. As its original name implies, this variety is easily recognized by the heavy indentations of its leaves (frastagliato means jagged). The grape however is not related to Lambruscos from Emilia-Romagna, which have another DNA gene.
About the Winemaking: 100% Enantio grape from vineyards planted on sandy soils at 120 meters (394 ft.) above sea level. The vines' average ages are between 20 and 60 years old.
Harvest is done by manual picking with grape clusters selection.
The wine goes through malolactic fermentation for 15 months in French oak barrels. After bottling, it spends 6 more months in the bottle before being released on the market. Roeno works its vineyards with sustainable farming and is awaiting for organic certification.
Tasting Notes: Red-garnet in color with glints of ruby in the glass.The first impression at the nose is of blueberry, then cherry compote and cloves with a balsamic note lingering. More berries at the first sip with a youthful grapey impact followed by a spiciness inherited by oak aging. A pleasant discovery.
Winemaker: Cristina Fugatti
Price per bottle / Price per case:
Suggested Food Pairing
Mix fried plate of eggplants, zucchini and green tomatoes; maccheroni alla pastora (see recipe); roasted lamb chops.
Maccheroni alla pastora
This typical first course from Alto Adige is a simple recipe that not requires too much time or cooking skills but it will make a pleasant impression when brought to the table and enjoyed by many. You can make a vegetarian version by omitting the meat and the result will be rewarding as well.
INGREDIENTS (serving 4)
- 300 g maccheroni (rigatoni, penne, or any short cut pasta that you prefer)
- 100 g ham, sliced in ¼ inch strips (optional if vegetarian)
- 70 g peas
- 200 g white button mushrooms
- 400 g meat ragu (or tomato sauce for vegetarian)
- 100 mL heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ white onion
- few sprig of parsley
- Salt to taste
- Clean the mushrooms and cut them in small dice
- In a medium sauce pour the olive oil, add the onion diced and let get some color for 3-5 minutes
- Add mushrooms, peas and ham to the onion and cook over medium heat fro 15 minutes
- Add the meat ragu (or tomatoes sauce) and the heavy cream, cook over low heat for 5 more minutes
- When the pasta is done al dente, drain it and sautee in pan with the other ingredients for 1 minute
- Serve in individual bowl with a sprinkle of chopped parsley
- If you like you can add some diced of Asiago cheese for more flavor, and richness
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