Nicholas customers seemed to enjoy nothing more during the height of pandemic than the little white wines I’ve been pulling out of the steep hillsides of the snow-capped Dolemite Mountains. You might even call the area my secret weapon.
The names will likely look familiar – Tiefenbrunner, Muri Gries – as I made special arrangements with my importer friends to have enough quantity to feed the masses. And boy did folks gobble them up. Why were these wines so popular? The answer is pretty simple.
While most is Pinot Grigio grown at low elevations for tonnage and then machine harvested – a precious few are given the kind of vineyard care you might expect out of fine white Burgundy. That’s the situation in this precious corner of Alto Adige – because there’s no other choice.
Elevations are much higher and the slopes can be intense. Machine farming at Kurtatsch is not possible. Instead, the low yielding vines are harvested by hand – row by row. Like all great cool-climate wines, the vineyards here benefit from large temperature swings from day to night, which allow for ideal acidity and fruit maturity.
And while Kurtatsch Pinot Grigios always receive a bevy of 90+ scores the 2019 takes it to a whole new level. The 2019 Kurtatsch Pinot Grigio Alto Adige is a rock star sleak Pinot Grigio. Super crisp with a wonderful chalky mineral streak that is so unique to the Italian Dolomites.
92 Points, James Suckling
A subtle, yet fruity and intense white with sliced-pear, green-apple and mineral aromas and flavors. It’s medium-to full-bodied with dried mangoes and hints of tropical fruit. Drink now.