If you saw my recent City Weekly
article about the Alto Adige wines
of Italy, you know I'm a big fan of them. Italy's Alto Adige wine-growing region is comparatively small—about 13,000 acres. But the region is also one of the wine world's most dramatic. Tucked away in northernmost Italy—just below Austria—you'll find vineyards in Alpine valleys as high as 3,600 feet in elevation. The region is characterized by a mild, Alpine-continental climate, which boasts more than 300 days of sun per year and an average temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The Alps protect vineyards from cold winds, while air currents from the Mediterranean and Lake Garda help warm the wine-growing zones. German is the primary language spoken here, not Italian. And, like the language, the wines from Alto Adige are quite Germanic in character.
Well, one of the most beautiful wines to pass my palate recently is a wine that is perfect for summer sipping: Tramin Unterebner Pinot Grigio
($16.99). If you think Pinot Grigio has to be dull and boring, think again. This is a gorgeous wine with enough body to mistake for something heftier, like Chardonnay.
The aromas that spring forth from a newly-opened bottle of Tramin Unterebner Pinot Grigio aren't what you might expect from Pinot Grigio. I get hints of warm buttered pears, vanilla, and spiciness on the nose to pair with rich and round fruit on the palate, with plenty of minerality - and it's pretty dense for a Pinot Grigio, to boot.
Enjoy a bottle of Tramin Unterebner Pinot Grigio before summer slips away.