Alto Adige
Alto Adige could be described as one of the least known but most notable wine regions of Italy. Located at the very top of the country and bordering the Austrian border, the ‘Y’ shaped glacial valley has distinct Germanic and Austrian influences. As a gateway to Italy, Alto Adige was an important area for the Romans, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and only became part of Italy in 1919. There up to three official languages; Italian, German and Ladin. Due to its geographical nature, the vineyards in Alto Adige tend to be situated on steep slopes. Indeed the area is so mountainous only 15% of the region is suitable for cultivation (13,000 hectares). The unique location does allow for white wines however in particular to flourish, Pinot Grigio here is possibly among the best in the world easily competing with Austrian Grüner Veltliner and German Riesling. The climate and position also permits the growth of grape varieties not usually seen in other parts of Italy; Müller Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sylvaner, Schiava, Terodelgo and Lagrein, an ancient varietal that dates back to the 1500’s. Soil composition in the region ranges from rocky minerals to volcanic deposits and slate.