Connoisseurs will hut far and wide in their search for the absolute best Italian wines. With so many different varieties and vintages to choose from, much of the joy of wine comes from finding a bottle that you truly enjoy, that can be added to your collection or become a regular feature at dinner parties and other events.
To help with this, many Italian towns and organisations create events that allow wine lovers to explore the regions that make their favourite wines, so they can learn a little bit more about them. In the case of the South Tyrolean Wine Road, visitors receive the opportunity to explore a number of winemaking towns to find out what makes each of them stand out.
As is indicated by the name, the South Tyrolean Wine Road is located in the South of Italy and plays host to some of the best vineyards in that area of the country. In fact, it is almost impossible to journey along the road without seeing a vineyard somewhere in the vicinity.
This sloping road is a sheer spectacle of both natural beauty and the endeavour of the great winemakers of the region, and it is this combination that draws so many visitors to the region every single year.
The region itself has been known for the wines that it produces for centuries, making it one of the most prestigious winemaking areas in all of Italy. In fact, the road alone makes up a staggering two thirds of the wine production in the entire South Tyrol area.
Contained along its winding roads are 15 different municipalities, all of which have a history in winemaking. Amongst them are Nals, Terlan, Eppan and a host of others, all of which have not only their historical wines to offer but also a range of historical sites and local activities that are sure to enchant any visitor, rather than just the connoisseur.
One of the many joys of the road is enjoying the company of the people that occupy the municipalities. Many of them have been working on the vineyards for their entire lives and will be more than happy to share the history of the land with you while espousing the many virtues of their way of life.
For the true wine lover, the road is one of the many open secrets of Italy and is most certainly worth a visit. While the wines you will discover are more than enough reason to go, the enchanting scenery and wonderful people enhance the experience all the more.
Of course, wine lovers will want to know which wines they can find in the area, so here are just a few of the best that can be found along the famous road:
St. Magdalene Wine
Perhaps the single most famous vintage to emerge from the area is the historic St Magdalene wine. This gorgeous red has a soft texture that makes it the perfect complement to most meals, and features hints of violets to go along with its smooth taste.
It is excellent when pairs with richer foods, such as roast meats, game or cheeses, as it will complement the flavours extremely well without overpowering them.
Made using a combination of Schiava and Lagrein grapes, the wine is an excellent choice for those who are just beginning a journey of discovery into the world of Italian reds.
Generally speaking, it is a wine that has a fairly low alcohol volume, with percentages in the 12 and 13 region not uncommon. It is also best served at a fairly cool, though not fully chilled, 12-14 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, for those who like to keep their wines for a little longer, it can be aged for about 3 years before it starts to lose its trademark characteristics.
Another superb Italian red wine, the Lagrein is marked out for being a much more homely Italian red, making it excellent for those who simply like to keep a bottle around the house.
In most cases it will have a high acidity level and will also be rather high in tannins. It very much reflects the wonderful land in which it is produced, as the wines usually have quite a full and earthy texture. However, at the same time they are rarely considered to be too heavy, which means they make an excellent accompaniment for most meals.
The wine has also been around for hundreds of years, in some form or another. It is first mentioned in records of the Muri Abbey, which is located near Bolzano, in the 1600s and it has been a staple of the area ever since.
However, due to the popularity of the wine a number of international producers have also gotten in on the action. Today there are vintages that are produced in Australia and California, so if you want to ensure you get the Italian original you must be very careful to check the label on your bottle.
While the region produces a number of fine white wines, it can’t be denied that some absolutely spectacular red wines overshadow them somewhat. The Kalterersee is another one, and is perhaps amongst the oldest varieties of red that can be found in the region.
Created using the Vernatsch grape, it is amongst the most popular red wines of the South Tyrolean area and vintages will often vary between a light red colouring and a deep ruby red.
The wine itself is extremely fruity and will usually feature aromas of currants and cherries. Like many other wines from the region, drinkers will also be able to detect a hint of violets.
When it comes to the taste, the wine is known for being fairly dry, though it goes down extremely smoothly and makes an excellent accompaniment to meaty dishes. It doesn’t overpower the food but the distinct taste will most certainly leave its mark and the aftertaste is both gorgeous and extremely stimulating.
There are many more wines worth exploring along the South Tyrolean Wine Road, so we fully recommend that you take the time to visit and find out for yourself the many joys that the region has to offer.