Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2017. Stage 18: Moena (Val di Fassa) — Oristei/St. Ulrich (Val Gardena)

For me, a triumph for Pierre Roland was fine. It also looked like Tome Demoulin had recovered from his stomach problems. There were noe changes in the GC-classification.

Today it is a relatively short stage, 137 km. There are four climbs, before the top-finish. In a short stage like this, it will probably be action and hard riding. In stages like this, some riders will have problems with the time limit. It will also be the test if Tom Dumoulin has recovered, and has been able to eat enough.

Again, there are mountains, and as always in the mountains: Hard to find wine. After the riders have passed the finish in Oristei/St. Ulrich (Val Gardena) for the first time, they make a turn down to Alto Adige, before returning to Oristei/St. Ulrich (Val Gardena). Alto Adige is the wine district of today.

We are now in the German speaking part of Itali, in the province known as Süd-Tirol. When we buy apples or apple juice from Süd-Tirol, as we often do in Norway, they come from this region. 69% of the population in the province Trentino Alto Adige speak German, 26% Italian and 4% ladin. Alto-Adige is the German part. The places here have both Italian and German names.

Italy is young as a united country (to the extent that it is united). The varioius small states were united into one country 156 years ago. But that was not the Italy we know as Italy today. Trentino — Alto-Adige was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire under the Habsburg emperors. It was annexed by France under Napoleon, was for a shot period part of Bavaria, and then again became part of Austria. It did not become part of Italy before after the First World War. Mussolini pursued italification. In 1943, it was annexed by Germany. After the Second World War, the province once again became part of Italy. From 1947, both German became official language, besides Italian. There has been disagreements between Italy and Austria in the border areas, up to fairly recent times. As late as in 1971, there was signe a treaty between Italy and Austria about this area, granting the province substantial self governement, and the Austria should not interfere in the region’s internal affairs. After Austria became member of EU in 1995, the relationship between the two countries has improved.

But enough history. We have to find some wine. But with this history, it should come as no surprise that the wines are more in the Austrian-German tradition than the Italian tradition. It becomes more clear, the further north we come.

Alto-Adige is mainly mountains. The Dolomites are the border to the east, and the Alps the border to the north. The winters are cold. But in some places, they have the highest summer temperatures in Italy. Some places, there are vineyards up to 1.000 m above sea level. There are huge temperature differences between day and night. It gives a long ripening time, which again gives good development and taste. We Norwegians like to say that the best strawberries come from Norway, for about the same reason: Fairly low temperature, much sun exposure (due to long days and short nights in the summer), and long ripening time.

White wine is the main product, at least when it comes to wine. The dominating grapes are Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay But Sauvignon Blanc is becomming more and more popular. We also find grapes that at leas I think of as German graps: Sylvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, Veltliner and Riesling. And last, but not least: Gewürztraminer. I think of Gewürtztraminer as an Alsacian grape. But Alsace is a region that has changed being part ofFrance and Germany, depending on who has won or lost the too many wars between these two countries. It is a region with a mixed cultural identity, just as Alto Adige. Gewürztraminer is said to have its name from the village Tramin, or Tremeno in Italian, in Alto Adige, about 20 km south of Bolzano.

We have several times seen that Italian wine can be confusing, partly because of many local names for the varietals they use. In Alto Adige we can also find German varietal names, for instance Weißburgunder instead of Pinot Bianco.

Pinot Grigio is the most popular varital for white wine, and it is the Pinot Grigio that is regarded as the best representative of the whit wines from the region.

For red wines, the often use “international”, which usually means French grapes,
such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. But they also make wines from local grapes like Schiava and Lagrein. For more about the region, see Decanter travel guide: Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy.

Italian Wines 2016

Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2017

Norwegian version

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