From: Alto Adige - Südtirol, Italy
Blend: 95% Vernatsch (Schiava), 5% Lagrein
Taste: Goodness, this is a pretty wine. On the nose, it offers a luxurious bouquet of ripe red berries, particularly wild strawberries, and cherries, complemented by delicate floral notes of violets, underpinned by a subtle almond nuance and a hint of earthiness, reflecting the mineral-rich soils of its vineyard. The palate is greeted with a silky texture and a balanced acidity that brings freshness to the wine, leading to a pleasing complexity and a soft, elegant finish. These flavors are accentuated by the wine's fine tannins and a slightly herbaceous quality that adds depth and interest.
Pairing: It is an excellent match for traditional South Tyrolean cuisine, such as speck (smoked ham) and local cheeses, offering a delightful contrast to the smoky and creamy textures. This wine also complements dishes featuring pork, whether cured, roasted, or as part of a rich, hearty stew, as the wine's fruitiness and acidity cut through the fat and enhance the meat's flavors. Try this seared pork chop with tomatoes, anchovies, and rosemary (recipe below!). The hearty flavors and flavorful crust will be beautifully balanced by the acidity and complimented by the fruity-mineral layers. Roast chicken and grilled salmon benefit from the wine's balanced acidity and aromatic profile. For a more casual pairing, it pairs beautifully with pizza, flatbreads, and picnic fare like ham and cheese buns, sandwiches, fried chicken, pulled pork tacos or sandwiches, and even something like a chive pesto potato salad.
Braised Pork Chops With Tomatoes, Anchovies and Rosemary
By Melissa Clark
About: The Franz Gojer Winery, in the heart of South Tyrol, Italy, has been producing wines for over 150 years. Known as Glögglhof, Franz Gojer's estate is in the prime location of St. Magdalena Hill, an amphitheater-shaped area just northeast of Bolzano. This region is renowned for its Schiava grapes, and among connoisseurs, Gojer is acclaimed as the foremost producer of this variety.
Franz Gojer is a prominent member of the 'gang of four,' a collective of distinguished small producers from Alto Adige, alongside Andreas Widmann, Ignaz Niedrist, and Peter Pliger from Kuenhof. This alliance is celebrated for showcasing their exceptional wines at Vinitaly for many years, united by a philosophy that emphasizes expressive, emblematic of their origin, and meticulously crafted wines. Their shared commitment to producing wines that are not only typical of the region but also unparalleled quality has set a benchmark in winemaking.
Franz Gojer's legacy is carried forward by his son, Florian, who, after an apprenticeship with Jim Clendenen in Santa Barbara, has joined forces with his father at Glögglhof. Together, they have expanded their viticultural pursuits to include a high-altitude vineyard at Karneid, where they cultivate Weissburgunder, Kerner, and Sauvignon, alongside a rare planting of old-vine Vernatsch. This vineyard, located 600 meters above sea level, on the opposite side of the valley from their primary estate, introduces a new dimension to their winemaking palette, further enriching their diverse range of high-quality wines.
Gojer's estate is dedicated to sustainable viticulture and the production of wines that vividly express the unique terroir of South Tyrol—focusing on indigenous grape varieties such as Schiava, complemented by a small percentage of Lagrein. Schiava, locally referred to as Vernatsch and known in German as Trollinger, signifies its deep ties to the Tyrol region, hinting at its indigenous roots through the name, which reflects its capacity for high yields.
St. Magdalena's vineyards are on the slopes around Bolzano, in the Isarco Valley, where the surrounding Dolomite mountains shelter them. This geographical positioning is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, the slopes provide optimal sun exposure, ensuring the grapes receive ample sunlight for photosynthesis, which is crucial for sugar development and ripening. Secondly, the elevation varies across the region, offering a range of microclimates that can influence the wine's flavor and aroma.
The area enjoys warm days, vital for the ripening of grapes, and cool nights, which help maintain the grapes' acidity levels and aromatic compounds. This diurnal temperature variation is essential for developing the complex flavors and maintaining the wines' freshness. Additionally, the region benefits from the "Ora," a local wind that blows northward up the Adige valley in the afternoons, providing ventilation that helps to keep the grapes healthy and reduces the risk of fungal diseases.
The soils in the St. Magdalena area are diverse, with a mix of sandy, loamy, and clay soils alongside deposits of dolomite rock and porphyry, a volcanic rock contributing to the mineral complexity of the wines. The mineral-rich soils, in particular, are believed to add a distinctive minerality to the wines, enhancing their complexity and depth.
Unfamiliar with Alto Adige - Südtirol? Check out this excellent article by VinePair.
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