Yes, you can chill red wine. There, I said it. It is hot hot hot, not just here in NYC, but around the globe. Many wine lovers transition to white or rosé wines in the summer, but this summer, make it the summer of Schiava. Schiava is chillable, making it the perfect red wine for the warmer months.
Now you are thinking who chills red wines? Well yes, chill out! It is perfectly acceptable. Many of us stick to the rules and only chill white wines, but some rules are made to be broken. Chilling a light-bodied Schiava is not only acceptable but actually, the way you would normally drink Schiava It can be wonderfully refreshing for the summer or a great transition wine to cooler weather in the fall.
So what is Schiava you ask?? Schiava(also known as Vernatsch) is one of the most important indigenous red varieties of the Dolomites in Alto Adige. It is an easy-drinking, light-bodied red wine that is enjoyable for this current hot summer. Schiava is a thin-skinned red grape variety that produces a light-bodied red wine with low tannins.
Schiava is a fresh and fruity red wine from Alto Adige, in northern Italy, near the border of Austria. It is a unique region, due to its northern proximity, German is the main language spoken here. The region is the backdrop for the Alps, the Dolomite Mountains, Adige River, and Isarco River where they produce high-altitude cool climate wines that are light in body and alcohol. Schiava brilliantly expresses Alpine freshness.
Not only is Schiava a massive hit in Italy but also around the globe. Schiava is made of the highest quality in Alto Adige, but also know that it is very much in vogue. Here are four fantastic producers of Schiava that you need to try this summer and beyond.
Rottensteiner Kalterersee Auslese, Alto Adige Lago di Caldero DOC 2020 (SRP $20)
Rottensteiner Winery was founded in 1956. Its name, Rottensteiner derives its name from the soils of the region. The vines grow on red rocks called porphyry, typical of the area. The meaning of the family’s last name comes from the word for this rock, Rotttensteiner. Elegance, typicity and minerality are the hallmarks of their wines.
Schiava grows on the Nussbaumer estate in Missiano near Bolzano. Judith Rottensteiner expresses how special this wine is to the family. They only have one farmer who sells them grapes for this wine. The family has lived there for 300 years and the first vineyard they planted was to Schiava. The vines for their Schiava are over 50 years old. This is a fantastic wine with great value. Where do you find old vine wines for $20?
This is an easy-drinking wine, but also elegant and complex and ageable. It pairs brilliantly with starters, poultry, cheeses and charcuterie.
Markus Prackwieser Gump Hof Vernatsh MEDIAEVUM Alto Adige DOC 2019 (SRP $24)
For over 200 years, the Prackwieser family has owned the Gump Hof winery, which was first mentioned in a document in 1546. Markus Prackwieser discovered his love for wine in the mid-nineties and took over this historic family estate from his father Johann in 2000.
Schiava has been cultivated since the 16th century in the region. Schiava is a very distinctive variety, at Gump Hof, they focus on the crispness and elegance of Schiava Judith Unterholzner describes how geographically, Markus Prackwieser is one of the most northern producers of Schiava in Italy. The diurnal shift in the area can be up to 65 degrees from day and night, which makes this wine crisp, fruit-driven and packed with crunchy red fruit. The wine is soft, light and earthy with floral notes of violet and hibiscus.
Its light tannins and fresh acidity make this an easy-drinking wine for the summer or year-round. This wine is great when paired with cheeses, pasta and pizza. Is there anything better on a summer night than a chilled Schiava with a gourmet pizza?
Kurtatsch SONNTALER Alto Adige Schiava DOC Alte Reben 2020 (SRP $29)
Kurtatsch is one of the oldest wine cooperatives in Alto Adige. They have esteemed and unique terroirs handed down from generation to generation. The cooperative is made up of 190 families who cultivate 190 hectares of vineyards in a sustainable way.
Schiava has been very important to the cooperative in the past and in the future. SONNTALER is produced from their oldest vineyards with vines that are between 60 and 90 years old. Its elegant, lean body is gripping on the palate. Fine-grained tannins give the smooth fruitiness typical for the variety. It closes with a long and hearty finish.
Harald Cronst notes that the strength of Schiava is its elegance and delicacy. The wine is beautiful and light, yet with great concentration from the old vines. It has nice depth and lingers in your mouth, yet is beautifully delicate. This is rapidly becoming my favorite summer wine, chilled at 55 degrees, it is a great alternative to rosé.
Cantina Bolzano MOAR St Magdalener Alto Adige DOC 2018
Cantina Bolzano is a fusion of two Cooperatives with the objective to promote local and autochthonous wines. Today the winegrowers’ cooperative has a membership of 224 families with a shared goal: diversity, passion, and enjoyment. Davide Ungaro states that Cantina Bolzano has a new state-of-the-art winery with a unique architecture that is the first in Europe to receive the CasaClima Wine® designation for its focus on sustainability.
St Magdalener is a classic wine made with a blend of two indigenous varieties, 85% Schiava and 15% Lagrein. This is Cantina Bolzano’s highest level of Schiava. The vines grow on the slopes of the Santa Magdalener zone above Bolzano at 650-1000 feet above sea level. The MOAR Santa Magdalener is the product of a unique combination of old vines.
On the palate, this wine has notes of cherries and raspberries with a nice touch of smokiness. It is very elegant but yet it is an easy-drinking wine that pairs well with food. The touch of Lagrein brings a bit more structure and intensity. This is a fantastic wine you can drink all day long from breakfast to evening.
** Photos Courtesy of Vini Alto Adige **
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