Istituto Sperimentale Laimburg, Vadena, Alto Adige
The Gambero Rosso once noted that if Istituto Sperimentale Laimburg did not exist it would need to be invented as this full service agricultural research and development station is essential to the local apple, stone fruit, forestry and wine cultures. As a result it produces a broad range of wines (and also fruit and forestry products!) but miniscule amounts of any given one. A unique and surprising factoid: despite its northern location, this cantina has palm trees and even agave plants planted in front of its facilities to point out that, due to warm winds off the lakes to their south, it is actually considerably warmer there than in Trentino or most of the Veneto. We are still waiting for them to take a run at making some Tecchila out of some of that agave though…
Laimburg Riesling 2010, Alto Adige
Bone Dry Reisling? YES!!! Absolutely drier than most American or Aussie Chardonnays, this is one of our favorite food wines of all time. We served this and the Martilde Piume with a fabulous Marinated Octopus Salad at Tanino one night and the dish literally tasted different with each wine. The Riesling has intense mineral notes and pure white fruit flavors and seemed to emphasize the briny freshness of the seafood while the insanely citrusy aromatics and richer, more viscous textures of the Piume brought the herbs and spices of the marinade into sharper focus. They both rocked, just to different grooves. Why not join the Church of Trancendental Aromaticism tonight?
Laimburg Kerner 2011, Alto Adige
Got Bliss? Just the nose of this wine gives people s#!t-eating grins and starts them babbling about it being “pure Springtime in a glass…in the mountains…wow… flowers and citrus and spices and…what the hell is this and can I have some more right now? Pleeeeaase!!!”. What it is is a fabulous hybrid of Riesling and Vernatsch (a red grape popular in Austria). And, yes, you can have some more. Our favorite Sushi Solution, a fabu picnic tipple and just plain refreshing, this will make you believe white wine can be thrilling again.
Laimburg Chardonnay 2010, Alto Adige
Contrary to popular belief, Chardonnay does NOT taste like buttered popcorn and vanilla beans but, instead like little green apples, quince and maybe pear. Those other flavors are what we call “process flavors” as they are generated by fermenting in new oak barrels and putting the wines through malolactic fermentation, neither of which has been done here.
Laimburg Sauvignon Passito Saphir 1999, Alto Adige 500ml
This is a wine made in such small quantities (less than one standard barrel) that we were only able to sweet talk them out of 30 bottles. What it is is the Sud Tyrollean reposte to great Sauternes: insanely concentrated, ultra late harvest, Botrytis affected Sauvignon Blanc. But that is like saying a Ferrari Enzo is a fast red car, you really have to EXPERIENCE it to grok the whole of its beauty.
Castel Sallegg, Bolzano, Alto Adige
In 1851 the Castel Sallegg with its surrounding vineyard was bought by Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto. It was then inherited by the Counts von Kuenburg through Prince Henry of Campofranco. You might expect a guy with a name like Count Georg von Kuenburg who lives in a castle worthy of a fairy tale to be a stuffed shirt straight out of a Peter Sellers movie set in the Alps but, in fact, he is wonderfully down to Earth and friendly and makes delicious wines that have been big hits here since we first took them in.
Castel Sallegg Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Alto Adige
One of our latest discoveries in the mountains of Alto Adige, this is Sushi friendly, bursting with flavor and zest and packed with white fruits, herbal notes and minerals but no oak to slow you down on your way to a second glass.
Castel Sallegg Pinot Bianco 2011, Alto Adige
A bit richer in texture, this blasts ripe white fruits and flowers out of the glass, generating smiles all around!