Recently, we took part in a wine seminar from Italian Winemakers Alto Adige, which was hosted by Pappas Brothers Steakhouse in the Galleria area of Houston. A group of selected guests were privileged to hear the stories about the grapes, the topography, and passion that is poured into every bottle of the final product.
Our moderator and tasting guide was Time Gaiser, who is a nationally renowned wine expert and Master Sommelier. Our wine panelists were Armin Gratl, Andi Punter, and Kathrin Werth. One panelist, Werth, had a very close to connection Alto Adige as she is a native and has always had a close connection to wine as her father, Christian, has been the winemaker at Muri-Gries, which is a Benedictine monastery.
The region of Alto Adige is located in Northern Italy and borders Switzerland and Austria. The climate has a “vast range of altitudes” that has resulted in a diversity of microclimates. The region is protected by the Alps so they are shielded by the lands from inclement weather. “The Adige Valley has an extremely warm climate, but has a dry cooling wind from Lake Garder that is helpful on the hot summer days.”
The distinct climate has produced some unique wines, most of which in my view were aromatic, and some of them had an earthy perfume. The tastes were equally unique; we tasted ten wines in total and each one stood out. My favorites were on the lighter side, such as The Isarco Kerner. It reminded me of a “Riesling”, the flavors were crisp, with a hint of fruit flavor on the end. The Pinot Grigio had a fresh aroma; the taste was sweet and tart. Last, but not least by any means, was the Terlano Sauvignon, it had a rather herbal aroma; however, it delivered a smooth and vibrant finish.
Although the wine was the star of the evening, Pappas Brothers put out a spray of food to steal some of the spotlight. They provided hearty bites of barbecued quail, grilled beef skewers, smoked tuna, shrimp, potatoes au gratin, wine, cheese, and fruit for us to feast on.
Alto Adige is still working on developing a presence here in Texas. Wine lovers can learn more about them by visiting www.altoadigewines.com, on Facebook www.facebook.com/AAwines, and on Instagram and Twitter: @altoadigewines.
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