In the shadow of the Gantkofel: Cantina Andriano

The oldest co-operative in South Tyrol was one of the smallest in the country for a long time. Since the merger in 2008 with Cantina Terlan, just 2.5 kilometres away, the motto has been "two souls under one roof". In a presentation at the Rutz Zollhaus restaurant in Berlin, the winery demonstrated its strengths with long-lasting, single-varietal premium wines.

3 mins read

The Cantina Andriano has been somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour. And not just since the spectacular successes of its Terlaner sister winery with wines such as the Pinot Bianco Rarity or the Grand Cuvée Primo. The difference in size alone is considerable. In Andriano there are 60 winegrowers with 80 hectares of vineyards, including many hundreds of small plots. Terlan is a good two and a half times the size. The terroir, sun exposure and microclimates on the two opposite slopes of the Adige Valley are also very different. In Andriano it is calcareous clay and angular, white dolomite rock. In Terlan it is predominantly volcanic soils. The summit of the Gantkofel and its downdraughts ensure afternoon shade in Andriano and a harvest that is up to 14 days later. In both wineries, however, the meticulous, quality-orientated regime of operation manager Rudi Kofler and agronomist Simon Kompatscher applies to the contract winegrowers. To summarise very briefly: first-class grape prices for first-class quality.

The white wines of the Classic line

The base line in the Kellerei Andrian (or Cantina Andriano in Italian) would actually be a “middle line” for most wineries. However, there are two parts. The white wines with the simple grape variety designations Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio and Müller-Thurgau are accompanied by three wines with their own designations borrowed from Esperanto. Alexandra Erlacher presented these wines, which “particularly express the character of the origin”, each from the 2022 vintage for the winery in Berlin. The Pinot Bianco Finado was still somewhat restless, fully fermented and acidic, but also somewhat neutral (86. P.). The Sauvignon Blanc Floreado, also vinified entirely in stainless steel, is the antithesis of the kitschy Sauvignon fruit from New Zealand in its alpine austerity (88 P.). The “little summer” Somereto Chardonnay also sees no wood, but gains texture through batonnage and yeast ageing. Spicy, a hint of sweetness and considerably more pressure than its predecessors (89 P.).

The white Selection wines

Alexandra Erlacher presented the estate’s two white Riserve with both the current and a mature vintage. So Sauvignon Andrius 2022 and 2013 faced each other. In principle, the wine is matured in stainless steel before being stored and matured partly in stainless steel tanks (70%) and partly in tonneau (30%, 30% of which is first fermentation). Like the Junior Floreado, the 2022 vintage, which has just been bottled, is not too fruit-driven. But it is more complex and has a slightly more mineral salinity (92 p.). The winery had once put back 1,000 bottles of the 2013. Beautifully matured and with a petrol note reminiscent of Riesling, it impressed with its intense herbaceousness (92 P.).

The Doran Chardonnay Riserva, on the other hand, undergoes alcoholic fermentation and matures on the fine lees for twelve months in tonneau before maturing for three months in stainless steel tanks. 2021 is quite creamy, with wood still clearly present, a lovely mouthfeel and a mild, supple acidity (92 P.) 2017 is leaner due to the vintage and shows stone fruit as well as some coconut and vanilla on the nose. A good texture here too, but somewhat firmer thanks to the lively acidity (93 P.)

The reds

The Pinot Noir Riserva Anrar takes its name from Andrian and rarity. It originates from a single vineyard at 470 metres in Pinzon near Neumarkt. The 5,000 bottles come from a single hectare, closely planted with 8,000 20-year-old vines of Burgundian origin. The wine ferments in stainless steel and is matured in small oak barrels. Since regularly reaching the top three of Italy’s Pinot Noirs in comparative tests, it has become one of the winery’s flagship wines. The 2020 vintage impressively demonstrates why this is the case. A light ruby red colour in the glass, with a bouquet of pomegranate and sour cherry, plus allspice, cloves and a hint of smoke. Fresh and transparent on the palate, with present acidity and supporting, finely woven tannins (94 P.).

Rutz-Sommelière Nancy Großmann

Alexandra Erlacher had left the Lagrein Riserva Tor di Lupo at home. A pity, as the wine was one of the first top Lagrein wines in the 1980s. Instead, she brought two vintages of the Merlot Riserva Gant with her: 2020 and 2016. Gant is the abbreviation for the local Gantkofel mountain, where the grapes for a good 7,000 bottles are harvested at an altitude of 250 metres. In 2020, the wine shows a very concentrated fruit – the bouquet is almost “red fruit jelly” with cassis and cherry. Dense and expressive on the palate too, without a trace of sweetness (93 P.). Even more impressive was the mature 2016 vintage, which Monica Larner from the Wine Advocate had attested to being a little overripe in 2019. There was no sign of this here, on the contrary. Still youthful and somewhat cool in appearance, the wine almost has a Pomerol touch. Vertical and sinewy on the palate, with a medium length. A classic of tomorrow (94 P.).

The sweet finale and a word about the kitchen

The Juvelo Gewürztraminer Passito 2021 epitomises the great Gewürztraminer tradition of South Tyrol. It is actually only labelled Passito for the Italian market. In fact, the wine is a veritable Trockenbeerenauslese, made from grapes harvested on the vine in December, affected by boytritis, and contains 169 grams of residual sugar. The 1,300 bottles produced come from a single vineyard plot in Eppan-Berg at an altitude of over 600 metres. Powerful and quite direct on the nose, with honey, quince, candied apricots and a hint of acetone. Not too fat, with medium acidity and good length (94th). An article about this presentation cannot end without saying a few words about the accompanying food. Not only did it emphasise the excellent food-pairing ability of South Tyrolean wines. The Rutz Zollhaus also impressively presented the state of the art of new German regional cuisine in dishes such as the “White Halibut & Sauerkraut Foam” (pictured above).

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