Due to its proximity to the Austrian border, Cantina Valle Isarco also carries the German name “Eisacktaler Kellerei”. Founded in 1961, it is considered one of Italy’s most prestigious co-operatives and currently has 130 members from 11 municipalities in Varna, Bressanone, Funes/Tiso, Velturno, Chiusa, Laion, Castelrotto, Villandro, Barbiano, Fié and Renon. The vineyards, which span 346 acres in total are located in the northernmost winegrowing zone of Trentino-Alto Adige or Südtirol (South Tyrol, in German), on the southern side of the Alps. This picturesque region boasts majestic mountains interspersed with quaint Alpine farmhouses, castles, monasteries, little villages and terraced vineyards enclosed within neat low stone walls. Situated on fairly steep slopes that range in elevation from 1300-1950 ft., the vineyards are planted to Sylvaner, Müller Thurgau, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Riesling for the whites and Schiava, Klausner-Laitacher, Pinot Nero, Lagrein and Zweigelt for the reds. Despite its Alpine location, Trentino-Alto Adige enjoys a very warm summer climate with cool evenings, resulting in grapes that mature with a high sugar content. The light and gravelly soils are mineral-rich, yielding wines of elegance and complexity.
Pinot Grigio is a fairly misunderstood grape in America owing to the many watered down, mass-produced versions that have infiltrated our grocery stores and chain restaurants since the 80s and through today. While the grape has unfortunately become synonymous with simplicity, this lovely, expressive style from Cantina Valle Isarco in Alto Adige is far from bland. Rather, the pretty nose exudes a fresh, floral quality, showcasing notes of jasmine, crisp Asian pear and Golden Delicious apple. The palate, while light in body is full of character, highlighting slightly riper fruits as in white peach, lychee and Ranier cherry along with zesty lemon rind and blanched almond. Just when you think the wine might have a slight plumpness to it, a juicy acidity engulfs the palate, lending the wine a vivacious character and pleasantly mouthwatering quality. If you are one of the Pinot Grigio skeptics (and we know you’re out there), this delightful version is sure to impress!