2015 Castelfeder Gewurztraminer 'Vom Lehm' Alto Adige, Italy (750ml)

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Outside of Alsace, France, the best Gewurztraminer seems to grow in Italy's Alto Adige region. Yet, it still needs to be in the hands of a good winemaker who knows how NOT to produce overly rich, sweet, syrup-y and soapy wines from this incredibly aromatic and exotic varietal. Thankfully, Ivan Giovanett of Castelfeder does, and has made another beautiful Gewurztraminer with this new 2015 vintage. He captures the aromas reminiscent of a lovely garden bouquet of roses, along with lychees, stone fruits, ginger, and a little spice on the nose. Here's where he sets himself apart, on the palate. Because it has weight, texture and a subtle richness yet he coaxes enough acidity out of the wine to keep it in balance and not become overly rich, sweet, syrup-y or soapy. While it's no shrinking violet, the wine has a lightness and vibrancy to it that makes it ideal for the classic pairing with spicy Asian cuisine. The Giovanetts also recommend serving it with lobster, langoustine and grilled fish, which sounds just divine! The Giovanett family had been cultivating wine in Sudtirol for over 100 years before that southern part of Austria became annexed into Italy after WWI. Thus, when Alfons Giovanett was growing up post WWII in the beautiful environs of the Alps in what is now called, Alto Adige by the Italians and still Sudtirol by its German speaking inhabitants, he knew he wanted to perpetuate the family vocation. He earned an Enology degree from the prestigious wine school, San Michele all'Adige and became the winemaker for Cantina Terlano, the famous co-op that was started in 1893. Alfons also knew he wanted his own winery and founded Castelfeder in 1970, at the same time he was working at Terlano. He made very small quantities of red wines mostly from the local varietals of Lagrein, Schiava and Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) that he would often sell to other producers in the area. In 1989, Alfons' son, Gunther, took over and relocated the winery further south to Cortina where he purchased more vineyards and expanded the overall production. Gunther's son, Ivan took over winemaking duties in 2006 but the whole family is still involved in the day to day operations. The estate covers 50 hectares of vines planted to the original red grapes noted above, along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and the white varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Kerner and Moscato Giallo.

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