The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2018

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Page 99 of 134

july 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  97 For nearly a century, Kettmeir has been at the forefront of winemaking in the verdant hills of northern Italy's Alto Adige. The lush Alpine winegrowing region set against the backdrop of the towering Dolomite mountains—a UNESCO World Heritage site—borders Austria to the north and is also known by its German name, Südtirol. The northernmost wine region in Italy, the Alto Adige–Südtirol DOC was established in 1975, but it was as far back as 1919 that Giuseppe Kettmeir began crafting wines from this superb terroir. The area offered ideal conditions for grape cultivation with its range of soil types, altitudes, and temperatures, giving the resulting wines a strong sense of place. Today, as it approaches its 100th anniversary next year, Kettmeir aims to renew its commitment to Alto Adige with a strong sense of environmental responsibility, as well as pride in its enduring local traditions and the 60 grape growers who supply fruit for the wines. A new "brand identity" recently revealed a modernized heraldic crest and a subtle revision of the Kettmeir name on the labels; the letters' edges have been shortened and softened, the font geometry has been improved, and the spacing has been extended slightly for a cleaner, more contemporary look. At the winery in Caldaro, Italy, the show- room is also being revitalized to reflect today's Alto Adige-Südtirol lifestyle, which combines elements of Italian and Mitteleuropean culture and cuisine. What has not changed is the quality of the Kettmeir wines, which still proudly reflect the brand's motto: Progress Within Tradition. While Kettmeir is widely known in Italy for sparkling wines, its importer, Santa Margherita USA, stresses in the American market the distinctive qualities of two of Kettmeir's still wines, Pinot Bianco and Müller- Thurgau: varietals that vividly showcase the terroir of Alto Adige and express its gastronomy and lifestyle. Stepping from the Shadows: Kettmeir Pinot Bianco While Pinot Grigio has become the white varietal most associated with northern Italy, Kettmeir is especially proud of its Pinot Bianco. Known as Pinot Blanc in France, this white-skinned mutation of Pinot Noir finds an ideal home in the vineyards of Alto Adige. At Kettmeir, Pinot Bianco is grown in loose-textured, mainly calcareous soils and is vini- fied and matured in stainless steel for a fresh, clean taste uninfluenced by oak. Straw-yellow in color with greenish highlights, the Kettmeir Pinot Bianco ($22), now in its 2017 vintage, is a beautiful accompaniment to hors d'oeuvres or seafood. For those who insist on Pinot Grigio, Kettmeir's version is exemplary. The Kettmeir Pinot Bianco and Müller-Thurgau at Venice Ristorante in Denver. Kettmeir 2017 Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige–Südtirol, Italy ($22) It's no wonder this white is fabulous with food: The aromas waft from a tangy season- ing of tarragon and the minty quality of rosemary sprinkled thoughtfully over lime and tangerine. Lithe and lean, this high-pitched white has a crisp-pear- on-wet-stone taste with a timbre of magnolia and honeysuckle on the finish. 93 —Meridith May Kettmeir 2017 Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige– Südtirol, Italy ($22) The trio of sweet, savory, and tart impresses the nose with pineapple, basil, and lemon curd. From there, the wine offers a creamy base with a contrasting thread of miner- ality; searing acidity, meanwhile, works its way through to the end. In between, a harmonic balance of complexity is accented by verbena and mowed grass. 92 —M.M. Kettmeir 2017 Müller-Thurgau, Alto Adige–Südtirol, Italy ($22) Pungent aromas of summer apricot and peach stimulate the senses. The creamy texture is a mouth-filling dream with sweet almonds and white floral notes. The expected minerality melds with stone fruit and accents the lean acidity. Baked orange rinds find a saline finish. 93 —M.M. Tasting Notes

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