Region Of The Week: Alto Adige
The northernmost region in Italy, Alto Adige borders both Switzerland and Austria, which made it a highly desirable region at one point, as it was the main passageway between Italy and the rest of Europe. Originally a part of Austria, Alto Adige is also known as Südtirol and has been producing wines since 2700 BC. Being surrounded by the Alp mountains, Alto Adige is protected from cold winds and rain, which results in sunny days year-round with cool nights.
With a little over 15,500 hectares of land, Alto Adige is the ninth smallest wine region in Italy. Since it's a mountainous region, grapes are planted anywhere from 600-3300 ft., with white grapes normally planted at a higher elevation and red grapes planted in the valleys. While Alto Adige produces more white wines, their red wines are also extremely sought after. They mainly produce Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Nero, as well as indigenous varietals Schiava, a lighter red wine known for its fresh red fruit notes and mouth watering acidity, and Lagrein, a medium-bodied red with notes of mixed berries, purple flowers, and subtle spice.