In some cases, great wine producers form from the ideas of a single person, or family, that wants to make an impact on the Italian wine industry.
In other cases, they form because a collective of people want to combine their knowledge to produce wines that are perfect examples of what their region has to offer.
The wine company that we’re going to profile in this article is an example of the latter. Bringing together hundreds of members, the company has produced some stellar wines since its formation. And it’s the one that we’re going to look at here that may be the best of the bunch.
But before we get to that review, let’s take a look at the Kaltern Caldaro collective.
Kaltern Caldaro came into being out of a desire to highlight the gorgeous wines that can come out of a single village. Sitting about 15km south of the region of Bozen, which is perched just above the stunning Lake Kaltern, the village itself benefits from the surprisingly warm temperatures that the lake offers, making for an interesting contrast with the cold peaks of the Alps that border the location.
This contrast has led to the development of a range of different soil varieties and microclimates in the region. And it’s because of this that you see one of the key reasons for the formation of the Kaltern Caldaro collective. Each of these individual spaces in the region requires different types of expertise, making it almost impossible for a single wine producer to call itself a master of the entire region. Kaltern Caldaro was formed with the aim of bringing together the people who’ve mastered their specific microclimates so that they could share their knowledge and produce wines that are representative of the entire region.
All told, the village itself has over 60 vineyards, each of which operates under different philosophies and requires varying methods of grape production. As a whole, the village also has a horseshoe shape, with the peak of the shoe rising up a gentle slope, which again contributes to some of the climate differentials we see in this most interesting of wine territories.
The slopes that face the south and southeast are the ones that receive the most exposure to the sun, making them ideal for the production of grapes that thrive in warmer conditions. Aided by the warmness of the nearby lake, these grapes ripen quickly and develop stunning aromas.
Those who work the land to the north of the slopes may perhaps face more challenges. With colder climates comes some limitation in the types of grapes that you can grow, with that weather also requiring a great deal of expertise to ensure the grapes reach their full potential. The producers in these areas have in-depth knowledge of how to cultivate the hardiest of grapes that, when combined with grapes from the warmer areas of the village, allow for some interesting combinations.
That’s crucial considering the fact that even the warmer areas of the village needed to deal with the cold on occasion. During the evenings, cool breezes from the Alps flow down onto the village, creating the need for knowledge on how to protect the grapes so they can flourish when the temperatures rise later on.
Again, we see the need for the collective and the sharing of knowledge that it enables!
Interestingly, we also see a huge number of winemakers in the village. Kaltern hosts over 1,000 producers, each of whom operates on a very small scale. It’s extremely rare for any single producer to own more than one hectare of land, which means that individual producers face limitations in terms of the volume they produce and the reach that they can have outside of the region.
That’s yet another reason for the collective. Together, these small producers can operate under a single brand, with all of them benefitting from the increased exposure and the ability to bring their work to the world. In this sense, Kaltern Caldaro is essential for the survival of these smaller producers, as well as being crucial for ensuring the region doesn’t get lost when compared to the many other Italian regions that operate under more favourable conditions.
Today, the collective boasts about 440 members, who collectively farm about 300 hectares of land. For those who want to do the maths, that means that each member has an average vineyard size of 0.68 hectares, which is tiny in comparison to some of the larger producers that Italy boasts. The collective allows all of these small wine producers to get their products out there, in addition to providing a set of quality controls that all must abide by.
And it’s thanks to this amazing teamwork that the world gets to experience the gorgeous wines that originate from the land around Lake Kaltern.
That brings us to the wine we’re going to look at today. A stunning Italian red wine, it’s affordable and makes for a great addition to your winter line-up of wines to try.
Caldaro Quintessenz Kalterersee Classico Superiore 2019
With ageing potential of between 10 and 15 years, the Caldaro Quintessenz Kalterersee Classico Superiore 2019 is a young wine that benefits from time spent in the wine cellar. However, those who choose to drink it young will not be disappointed.
The wine has a gorgeous deep ruby red colouring that strikes your eye as soon as it’s poured.
The bouquet mixes the most popular red fruits, with raspberry, strawberry, and cherry being the dominant notes. However, that fruity aroma is tempered slightly by more bitter notes, such as almonds, creating a wine that achieves wonderful balance.
To the taste, the wine offers a full and soft structure, making it an elegant experience that’s also ideal for those who may not have much experience with Italian red wines. The wine also has stunning length, with the final lingering notes of ripe fruit staying with the drinker long after the last sip.
The Xtrawine team gives this wine a rating of 90/100 and we can’t wait to see what the collective comes up with next.