Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Garantito IGP: Gewurztraminer From the Alto Adige - Not Just for Italians

This time Carlo Macchi takes the stand, and says,

With this piece "Garantito IGP" takes a step forward. Indeed, we expand our "One For All And All For One" collaboration to cover select events at which only one of the Giovani Promettenti was present, thus providing simultaneous coverage on all of our sites.

A picture postcard world always pleases the eye, especially if several hundered traminers are seeing to nose and palate. This (in a tight nutshell) could be the summary of the International Gewurztraminer Symposium held in Bolzano on June 1 and 2.
The symposium was part of a considerably larger happening, the Festival del Gusto dell' Alto Adige 2011 (from June 2 to June 5), which featured a tremendous number of events.

Let's get back to Gewurztramin
er (GW for friends), which the German city of Tramin rightly claims as its own. We are thus before, rather than an autochthonous vine, an honest-to-God Prodigal Son that left home many hundreds of years ago to later return and reestablish itself to the great joy of everyone. Joy of the winemakers of the Alto Adige, who are concentrating heavily on this varietal (with almost 600 hectares planted, it accounts for almost 10% of the total vineyard area in the region; it's also the second white varietal of the region and in steady expansion), joy of consumers, especially Italians, who greatly appreciate it, so much that in the Alto Adige they call it the "wine for the Italians."

This "wine for Italians" is, as I said before, actually a varietal grown in
many parts of the world, and the strongpoint of the symposium was to show how, depending upon where and how it is grown, its nature changes. Over the space of two days we were able to taste, in addition to all of the local production, a great many GW from almost the entire enological world: Alsace, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Germany and the United States.

From this comparison I concluded there are significan diffences in GW from various, which may seem obvious, but I think is not. If one wants a GW in the Alto Adige style one has to look for a wine from the Alto Adige, and not one from elsewhere. Indeed, many of these wines display distinctive characteristics that only emerge in particular geographic areas.

Let's begin with bouquet: It seems easy to say that GW smells of flowers, spice and tropical fruit, but the arom
atic intensity of the wines form the Alto Adige is clearly greater than that of wines made in places much further from us that have higher average temperatures. They may display less depth than the German and Austrian GW, and be less fresh, but they certainly have more body and fullness while maintaining the same amount of residual sugar. And residual sugar is an important subject: the vast majority of GW from the Alto Adige has residual sugar contents between 6-7 and 10-11 g per liter; a small percentage has much higher residual sugar contents, but it is difficult to find wines that are almost dry or dry. This is because in the Alto Adige Gewurztraminer tends to develop bitter accents that need residual sugars to become pleasing and harmonious. This happens less in other parts of the world.

In summary: after attending this symposium I can say the Gewurztraminer from the Alto Adige is not just one of the many, perhaps interchangeable GW of the world, but a wine with characteristics that make it distinct from its foreign and even Italian cousins. Characteristics that can be defined as tremendously aromatic, drinkability, balance, and plea
sant; they don't include (as a rule) ageworthiness.

We alas reached this conclusion from one of the organized tastings, which featured the most recent to the oldest GW of several wineries. With a few exceptions it became clear that old Gewurztraminer was "aged" and not mature; they didn't develop tertiary aromas or complexities, but rather shrank on the palate and the nose. Let's say that the lifespan of a Gewurztraminer from the Alto Adige is between 3 and 6 years.

I started out speaking of a postcard world: This time, perhaps more than others, I
realized just how important the spectacular panoramas of the Alto Adige are, because almost 50% of the wine is bought and drunk in loco. And this thanks to the tremendous appeal of these mountains, which draw visitors from all over the world.

And it is precisely through confronting themselves with the rest of the world that the wines of the Alto Adige can grow and improve, because winemakers can only determine what steps to take when they try other wines. I therefore applaud this symposium, both for the Press, which had an opportunity to gain an understanding of the state of the art, and for the winemakers, who had an opportunity to decided what steps to take in the future.

A future that should allow the Gewurztraminer of the Alto Adige to expand into foreign markets, an almost completely virgin territory today due to the fact that sales are divided between direct sales and sales in the Italic Boot.

Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.
We Are: Carlo Macchi Kyle Phillips Luciano Pignataro Roberto Giuliani Stefano Tesi

1 comment:

Jonas Landau said...

Wow - I'm surprised to hear of the residual sugar in Italian GW. My wife loves GW but the Alsatians we used to drink have gotten too sweet and thick to pair with every day food. Maybe 6-11 g per liter isn't that much that I would notice it like I do in other versions. I have a few Tramin "Nussbaumers" in the cellar from '09. They seem to be much drier than their Alsatian counterparts - and much better with food.