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6 of the Best Pinot Noirs From Italy’s Alto Adige

What do Pinot Noir, Pinot Nero, Blauburgunder, and Spätburgunder have in common? They’re all names for the same grape, and you’re likely to see them all on Pinot Noir wine labels from Trentino-Alto Adige, the most northern wine region in Italy.

The region — Alto Adige is in the north and Trentino is in the south — borders Austria and Switzerland, and German is often spoken in Alto Adige and used on wine labels. (Alto Adige is also known as Südtirol, or South Tyrol.)

It lies on the south side of the Alps, and because of that, Alto Adige is able to warm sufficiently for grapes to grow and mature well. The vines produce quintessential cool-climate wines, including Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Bianco among the whites, and Schiava, Lagrein, and Pinot Noir among the reds.

Although Pinot Noir is a footnote in the region, accounting for about 10 percent of the vineyards, it’s worth exploring if you love the grape, as I do. They are mountain Pinot Noirs, often light in color and relatively low in alcohol, with many in the range of 12 to 13 percent ABV.

You’ll find bottles from this region at many price points, with the best of them showing considerable complexity and bright acidity. I find that these wines benefit from a chill. Fifteen or 20 minutes in the fridge will bring them down to a temperature that makes them more refreshing and food-friendly — they’ll work well with everything from roast prime rib to white meats to full-flavored fish.

Here are six of the best Alto Adige Pinot Noirs to try:

Terlan Pinot Noir ‘Tradition’ 2022

Raspberry and concentrated cherry flavors dominate this wine that shows hints of forest floor and minerals. It’s softly tannic and comes alive when chilled for 20 minutes or so.

Price: $27
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Tramin Pinot Noir 2022

Red berry and floral aromas anticipate spicy cherry and blueberry flavors, along with touches of white pepper, clove, and powdered cinnamon. It’s all framed by chalky minerality and a medium tannin structure.

Price: $20
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Elena Walch Pinot Nero ‘Ludwig’ 2019

There’s good complexity in this wine from a top producer in the region. Red cherry and redcurrant flavors are accented by hints of vanilla and orange zest as well as a mineral note. Lively acidity and an elegant tannin structure complete the picture. The wine was matured for 12 months in oak barrels.

Price: $51
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Gaierhof Pinot Noir Trentino 2021

Spicy cherry, redcurrant, and subtle herb aromas and flavors. There’s a nice vanilla layer from the fact that 50 percent of the wine is aged for a year in oak barrels, with the other half aged in stainless-steel tanks. It’s also a top value.

Price: $17
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J. Hofstätter Pinot Nero ‘Meczan’ 2022

This wine carries the broader “Vigneti delle Dolomiti” designation, which refers to the Dolomite Mountains within the Alps. It’s relatively soft, with blueberry and raspberry flavors, a vanilla note, and a touch of baking spices.

Price: $24
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Tiefenbrunner Pinot Noir ‘Turmhof’ 2021

At 14 percent ABV, this one is a bit weightier than most of the Alto Adige Pinots I tried, with blackberry and blueberry flavors and an array of secondary notes, including hints of milk chocolate, cedar, and eucalyptus. Eighty percent of the wine is aged in small oak barrels.

Price: $25
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The article 6 of the Best Pinot Noirs From Italy’s Alto Adige appeared first on VinePair.

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