The Kaltern/Caldaro winery, the destination of my recent visit, perfectly expresses the concept of terroir,
the workhorse of the wine tourism offer
I will remember the summer of 2022 as the hottest in the last ten years. I was looking for coolness and without thinking about it I escaped to South Tyrol. Lake Caldaro welcomed me with its typical features and I let myself be pleasantly fascinated by the local products and the stories that the locals gave me. Going to Caldaro and not visiting the Kaltern winery is a mistake not to be made. And of course I didn’t do it! I was welcomed by the great Andrea Moser, the oenologist who manages to interpret Alto Adige with one constant goal: to make great wines. Cantina Kaltern is the greatest expression of South Tyrol.
A social cellar that embraces a universe of hands and minds. In fact, there are 650 members who work and narrate 450 hectares of vineyards. Furthermore, in 2019 Cantina Kaltern was the first Italian winery to bear the FAIR’N GREEN seal. FAIR’N GREEN is the brand of sustainable viticulture designed and created by and for wine producers. It was born in Germany in 2013, since then it has been chosen by the most important German wineries and today it is among the most authoritative certifications for sustainable viticulture in Europe. Cantina Kaltern has aimed to improve its parameters by working even better on the vineyards, on solar energy, on 360° waste management and finally on the bottles. To crown the expressions of Alto Adige, there is the excellent line of the cellar that speaks of authoritative wines, the Selezioni line. A direct and continuous discourse between native and international grapes which in 15 labels speak of the entire territory of Lake Caldaro. But it is Quintessenz, the range that best expresses the ideas of the Kaltern winery. The Quintessenz line vinifies five grape varieties in purity: Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Schiava, Cabernet Franc, Moscato Giallo.
On that morning of sultry heat, the freshness of Caldaro led me to taste two wines from the Kaltern winery which I describe with pleasant transport. The beating heart for historical and clearly territorial reasons is the slave. Already known in the Middle Ages, Schiava is today the most cultivated grape variety in South Tyrol. And it is with these grapes that Moser challenges the clichés of a wine that for too long has not had the right consideration, as well as processing, quality. In fact, Moser brings the declination of this vine to remarkable expressions that do not fall into a useless overdoing of the cellar but which remain expressions of that vine that will forever be the ambassador of the South Tyrolean territory. Specifically, Quintessenz Kalterersee Classico Superiore Doc 2021 is a slave that is produced in the Caldaro area. The qualitative boost that has taken place since the 2000s is mostly the pride of the Kaltern winery which has interpreted the grape variety at its highest levels in this bottle, aiming no longer at quantity but at excellence. A simple wine that in the Kaltern chalice translates into an empathic story of a clayey, calcareous, pebbly, well-drained and warm soil that gives its vines the possibility of becoming a wine with remarkable tasting peaks. A ruby red that is revealed by a nose full of cherries and raspberries. A full and savory sip that in its soft tannins goes well with a fresh appetizer. It is not a wine with great structure, but a wine that is chosen for its freshness and drinkability.
A little curiosity, in the Quintenssenz Kalterasse 2017 cuvée there are vineyards that are even 100 years old. To say Alto Adige is to say Pinot Blanc. To say Pinot Bianco is to say elegance. Kaltern entrusts its Pinot bianco and its production which is around 12-15 thousand bottles with the task of speaking in depth about the particularities of the South Tyrolean territory. We were saying elegance, which Moser manages to make powerful. Here too the masterful expression is entrusted to the Quintessenz line which in its Pinot Bianco exalts in special notes; a wine that is never opulent, but a glass that manages to satisfy an intense and contemplative drink. Finesse is the secret that Moser manages to keep well revealed with every sip. A wine that becomes an opportunity for the South Tyrolean territorial nuances to achieve great goals. A straw yellow color that with light greenish brushstrokes opens the nose on fruity and herbaceous notes, accompanied by hints of yellow apple, melon, chamomile and graphite. A harmonious wine that leaves a nice creaminess in the mouth in a fresh and mineral memory. During my walk in Caldaro, I came out enriched by that world so suspended between Italy and its opposite, between people, souls and hands that are able to tell about roots that also belong to us. A territory so rich, so unique that from a winemaking point of view it manages to express ideas and stories that enrich our human heritage.