Explosive nose of tangy nectarine, lychee, and rose petal, uplifted by piercing mineral cut.
It doesn't happen often. It requires just enough winter moisture, not too much heat, and a perfect Indian summer. But when the stars align for the southernmost vineyards of South Tyrol, a picture-book patch of Italy that borders Austria and Switzerland, they produce possibly the greatest dry Gewürztraminer in the world.
South Tyrol, also known as Südtirol or Alto Adige, is one of Italy’s smallest wine-growing regions, and it’s blessed with near-perfect geography for Gewürztraminer. The snow-capped Alps to the north protect the vineyards from chilling winds, while the land opens up to the south, allowing balmy air currents from the Mediterranean and Lake Garda to surge in. The region gets 300 days of radiant sun a year, making for an average temperature of 64 degrees F during growing season. Wide diurnal temperature swings bring high-acid, small-berry clusters to superb natural ripeness.
Gewürztraminer is a native grape and the local pride. In 2015 — a vintage that multiple winemakers would call “outstanding” — the crew at Castelfeder harvested some of the most incredible lychee-infused Gewürztraminer we’ve ever tasted. Thanks to a long and dry summer, cool nights, and moderate temperatures in September, this effort boasts an ethereal balance of jaw-dropping mineral richness with a fine, elongated acid backbone.
Italy’s own discerning critics fawned, awarding this wine the country’s highest wine honor, Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) — helping cement Alto Adige’s position as one of the world’s top wine regions.
The 2015 Castelfeder Gewürztraminer “Vom Lehm” Alto Adige is opulent green-gold. Explosive nose of tangy nectarine, lychee, and rose petal, uplifted by piercing mineral cut. The core is beautifully honed and delineated, filled with crushed peach and exotic fruit, finishing bone-dry with stunning acidity. Wow!
Gewürztraminer of this flawless quality can rarely be found for under $50. That makes this ravishing Tre Bicchieri-winning 2015 release from Alto Adige’s famed vineyards a NO-BRAINER at $19.99. Just 300 bottles, flying out the door as we speak. Your call. Shipping included on 6.
Surprising sweetness diminishes rather than enhances the character in this wine. Pleasant but nothing to rave about.
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