Cantina Valle Isarco is located in one of the most breathtaking regions of northern Italy, in Alto Adige. The Isarco Valley’s landscape encompasses monasteries, castles, vineyards and snowcapped mountains. It is here that Cantina Valle Isarco produces some of the most incredible white wines of Italy.
Riccardo Cotarella Joins Cantina Valle Isarco
In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Cantina Valle Isarco has brought on Riccardo Cotarella to its team. Riccardo Cotarella needs no introduction except to say that he is Italy’s most highly acclaimed winemaker and a world-renowned consultant. Riccardo says he joined Cantina Valle Isarco because “It is a challenge for me. I have never worked in this kind of situation, with high altitudes, varying exposures, diverse microclimates and managing passionate growers. Currently, the quality is very high, and I am sure we can increase the quality further, by bringing together a professional approach and combining all our passions together.”
Cantina Valle Isarco
Based in northern Italy, in Alto Adige, Valle Isarco is the sub-zone of the region. The Isarco Valley starts from the south in Bolzano and then goes north to the border of Austria and Switzerland. Cantina Valle Isarco is the youngest cooperative of the region, founded in 1961. They currently have 135 members, representing 150 hectares of vineyards in 11 municipalities.
The region is a story of passion and dedication. 135 families of the cooperative all live in the valley. Many of them are small growers with just a little over 1 hectare. These families put a lot of care, attention and dedication into grape growing. They don’t have the help of workers or a labor force. The families work entirely with their own hands, giving more attention to the grape-growing process. Personal attention means that they put in 1/3 more time and attention to their vineyards versus surrounding vineyards, ensuring the highest quality and care.
Armin Gratl, the general manager of the winery explains that Alto Adige is a very small production area. It is only 0.8% of Italian wine production. Alto Adige is in the Dolomites, where 70% of the surface area is mountains and woods, so vineyards are limited to the hillside. Valle Isarco is an even smaller region within Alto Adige, representing only 8% of vineyards in the region of Alto Adige. So you can imagine how small and unique Valle Isarco is within Italy. There are a total of 400 hectares planted in Valle Isarco and Cantina Valle Isarco represents 150 hectares.
The area represents heroic viticulture, with vineyards at high altitudes with steep slopes. Vineyards start at 300 meters(1000 feet) and go up to 1000 meters(3300 feet). These are some of the highest elevation vineyards in Italy. With extreme viticulture, these mountain vineyards are entirely hand-harvested. The unique terroir of Valle Isarco delivers wines that are fresh, clean and crisp, with bright zippy acidity and unique minerality. Due to its high altitude and cool climate, they are primarily a white wine-producing region.
Agronomist Hannes Munter, is well trained in the terroir of Valle Isarco. Hannes says, “The close proximity to the mountains, the steep vineyards and unique soils make the yields very low, which guarantees maximum quality. ” The valley is surrounded by mountains which leads to unique climates that result in large diurnal shifts in temperatures. Sunshine(300 days), little rainfall, along with large swings in diurnal temperatures make for the ideal climate for grape growing. Hannes believes patience is needed in the valley, to support the longevity of the vineyards and to positively impact the quantity and quality of the grapes.
Celebrating 60 Years at Cantina Valle Isarco
At Cantina Valle Iscaro they grow 14 grape varieties and produce 28 different wines. With their sixtieth anniversary, they have new styling and new labeling, to give more focus to the valley and the farmers. Over the past several years, new investments have been made in the cellar and a wine shop has been incorporated to accommodate visitors.
In an effort to increase the quality and make the best possible wines that Italy has to offer, Cantina Valle Isarco took on a long-term collaboration with Riccardo Cotarella. Arim says that the area is small and that Hannes knows the area very well. Hannes knows what grows best in the region, but they are a young team with big goals. They humbly understand that they have experience in their area, but they wanted to bring in experience from the outside. There were seeking a winemaker who could bring in more experience and a different perspective, Riccardo Cotarella was a perfect choice.
Riccardo says he considers Valle Isarco a special, unique and very niche area. Together, Riccardo Cotarellla and the team at Cantina Valla Isarco have the combined goal and vision to raise quality and awareness of this region. Valle Isarco is an exciting wine region with the most promising potential and bright future.
Tasting Cantina Valle Isarco Kerner and Sylvaner With Riccardo Cotarella
Together with Riccardo Cotarella, we tasted 3 Kerners and 3 Sylvaners. Riccardo says, “Today the wines are excellent, the past the wines were excellent and for the future, I am very optimistic. We have everything, climate, soils, grapes, people and technology in the cellars to make the best wines. I am going to put all my passion into the winery, that is my promise.”
Cantina Valle Isarco has three lines; Classic, Artemis and Sabiona. The Classic line is 100% stainless steel and the wines are fresh, fruity and aromatic with nice sapidity. The wines are representative of the Isarco Valley.
The Aristos line represents the maximum expression of the territory. Some of the wines are aged in wood, others only in steel. Little intervention is involved, bringing the maximum expression of the grape variety into the bottle.
Sabiona is the premium line made from the vineyards of the Sabiona Monastery, a real CRU of the region. The wines are released two years after harvest and are only produced if the vintage allows for it with limited production. Since the 2018 vintage, Hannes has introduced a new winemaking method with the use of wood. Before the wines were made exclusively in steel.
Sylvaner – The Sylvaner variety has been cultivated in Valle Isarco for over a century and today is one of the valley’s most representative grape varieties.
Cantina Valle Isarco Sylvaner Classico 2020
Pale yellow in the glass, the wine has fresh and fruity aromas with notes of apples, flowers, and citrus. There is energy and focus in this wine, with unique minerality on the palate. This Sylvaner is clean, elegant and fresh with a long finish.
Cantina Valle Isarco Sylvaner Aristos 2019
Bright and robust, this wine has aromas of peach and green apples. On the palate, there is nice textural complexities with notes of citrus and spice. The wine is elegant and complex with nice minerality on the finish. The mouth is full and generous.
Cantina Valle Isarco Sylvaner Sabiona 2018
The glass glistens with bright yellow hues. Pear, apple, flowers and spice delight the nose. The mouth is full and persistent with nice structure and bright acidity. This is an exciting wine with depth and acidity.
Kerner – The Kerner variety finds absolutely ideal growing conditions in the areas close to the top of the cultivation borders. The lean soil and the colder climate, featuring cold nights and abundant sunlight during the day, are the ingredients of this intensely flavored and spicy wine.
Cantina Valle Isarco Kerner Classico 2020
There are straw yellow hues in the glass. The nose is very fresh and intense with intriguing aromas of pineapples, peaches, apples, and saffron. The wine is structured and juicy and fresh on the palate. There is a long satisfaction on the nose and the palate.
Cantina Valle Isarco Kerner Aristos 2019
The aromatics are really amazing with fruity and savory notes. Peach, white flowers and herbs engulf the palate. The mouthfeel is complex and full-bodied. This is a wine of great elegance, there is a smooth balance between the fruit, alcohol and acidity.
Cantina Valle Isarco Kerner Sabiona 2018
Pale yellow in color, this Kerner has an intense nose of peach, apricot, lemon zest and white pepper. The mouth is rich and long with fruit, floral and spice. It is juicy and lively. The texture and concentration leave a very long and satisfying mouthfeel. An extremely well-made wine that is swoon-worthy.
Be sure to discover the beautiful Isarco Valley with the wines of Cantina Valle Isarco. You can taste and feel the energy and magic of the valley through the wine glass.