Alto Adige, the northernmost region of the peninsula, was ceded to Italy in 1919 after World War I. Though Italian by nationality, its inhabitants are predominantly of German and Austrian descent. Wine is taken very seriously in this region, which is responsible for 17 percent of the nation's wine production. The land is mountainous, with craggy peaks, sloping valleys, breathtaking views, regal German architecture, and manicured vineyards. However, only four percent of the land is suitable for agriculture. Many producers rely on cooperative farming for their grape production because large vineyard blocks are physically impossible due to its geographic limitations.
Alto Adige focuses on native varietals like Pinot Bianco, Muller Thurgau, Sylvaner, and Pinot Grigio; as well as reds like Nosiola, Marzemino, Schiava, and Teroldego. They have also gained recognition for international whites like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio; and international reds like Cabernet, Merlot, and Pinot Noir (or as the label indicates, Blauburgunder). The main distinction between Alto Adige and its neighbor, Trentino, is the organization of their wineries. The majority of Trentino wine production is the hands of large cooperative wineries that produce an incredible volume and maintain affordable prices despite such high quality. One element of Alto Adige's success may be the contrast between warm daytime temperatures and cooler evening hours, which allows for optimal growth and a longer maturation period, and creates depth, complexity, and balanced acidity in the wine. At Siena Imports, we regard this tiny region as "la punta di diamante" (tip of the diamond) in our portfolio.
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