One interesting fact about Alto Adige is that the region is without a singular champion grape. Unlike Toscana and its King, Sangiovese or Piemonte and its bride, Nebbiolo, Alto Adige has many indigenous grapes, all equally represented throughout the valley.
Pinot Bianco, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Schiava, Pinot Nero, Lagrein, Reisling. You find them all, peppered throughout the region.
Why does Alto Adige have so many grape varietals? One explanation comes to us by Martin Foradori- Hofstatter of Tenuta J. Hoffstatter, a winery known for Pinot Noir, among other varietals. He explains the phenomenon by what he calls the ” four dimensions of winegrowing” in Alto Adige. These four aspects include:
1. Orientation to one side of the valley or the other (east/ west), with vineyards always oriented towards the south.
2. Vines growing at altitudes from 600- 3,300 feet above sea level- some of the highest in the world.
3. Soil types can include red porphyric rock, limestone, quartz, sandy marl, and clay- a varied spectrum of terroir unlike anywhere else.
4. Microclimates vary incredibly- even on the same side of the valley, at the same altitude, with the same soil type you may still find a differences due to the small valleys that wind their way through the region, affecting the wind penetration or sun exposure.
These four aspects of wine growing in Alto Adige make it impossible to grow some of the region’s indiegnous vrietals in some places, and perfect for growing them in others.
Natural diversity gives way to a rainbow of colors and an expansive spectrum of wines in this sun-drenched valley. If there were one place you’d want to drink wine from for the rest of your life, without becoming bored, it would be Alto Adige!