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Details for Tramin, Gewürztraminer, Alto Adige

AppellationSüdtirol - Alto Adige DOC
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Cantina Tramin
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Alto Adige

Italy’s northernmost region, the Alto Adige - Südtirol is the Y-shaped river valley at the centre of our satellite picture, hemmed in by the snowcapped Dolomites (part of the Alps).  Being confined to the valley makes it one of Italy’s smallest wine regions, with less than 1% of the national vineyard area.  Quality, by contrast, is high.  Over 98% of the production qualifies as DOC, and this is one of the few areas in Italy where vineyard area is increasing.
Until 1918 the region was part of Austria, and the majority of locals still speak German as their first language.  Wine labels, like the place names, are usually in both German and Italian.  Unusually for Italy, the region’s fame rests on its white wines, which make up the majority of the production.  A declining 40% is red wine, mostly light, Beaujolais-style quaffers from the local Schiava (Vernatsch) that are consumed locally or in neighbouring Switzerland and Austria.
This is one of the sunniest and dryest parts of Italy, averaging 300 days of sunshine each year.  Most vineyards need to be irrigated; fortunately there is plenty of meltwater flowing down the valleys.  Although summer days can be very hot, the nights at this altitude are always cold, preserving acidity and aromas in the grapes.

Cantina Tramin

Strictly speaking it sould be either Cantina Termeno or Kellerei Tramin, but the Italian word for ‘wineceller’ is rather better known than the Austrian kellerei, while the village of Tramin is much better known by its Austrian name than its Italian one, Termeno.  Using the Tramin name also plays well with the story that the grape (Gewürz) Traminer originated here, as its name would suggest.
Founded in 1898, Cantina Tramin are the local growers’ co-operative, now with 310 members tending 260 hectares of vines.  They have developed an enviable reputation for quality, winning the coveted Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso on more than twenty occasions.  This feat makes them a “two star” winery – one of only thirty in all Italy.
As a large operation they produce a full range of wines, including some unusual high-end blends in a region where varietal wines are the norm.  They have a particular focus on Gewürztraminer, offering five different examples: basic, selection, single-vineyard and two late-harvest.

about this wine About this wine

The hillsides above the village of Tramin are covered in vines.  Red varieties like Lagrein, Merlot and Schiava are planted on the lower slopes, while white grapes like Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc occupy the high ones.  But the middle altitudes between 300 and 450 metres are dominated by Gewürztraminer, and most of it ends up in this wine.
2015 was an excellent vintage in the Alto Adige, with grapes harvested in perfect condition.  At the winery they were gently pressed and the juice fermented with selected yeasts at 21°C in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks.  Malolactic fermentation was avoided to preserve acidity, and the wine rested in steel vats until bottling.

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