2019 Weingut Ebner Südtirol Vernatsch
Region: Alto Adige < Italy
Grapes: Vernatsch (AKA Schiava)Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, pergola-trained vines on
‘Galestro’ soil (a type of rocky limestone clay); fermentation in
stainless steel then aged partly in wooden casks; bottled unfiltered
with minimal So2
Winemaker: Brigitte and Florian Unterthiner
The family-run Ebner estate in Südtirol (South Tyrol) in Italy’s
mountainous Alto Adige region has been around since the middle ages,
with several aristocratic families growing grapes and making wine
here. Located on the sunny Renon plateau, on a rocky outcrop in the
southernmost reaches of the Eisack Valley, the happy Vernatsch grapes
grow on the sunny, terraced, south-facing slopes of volcanic origin.
Here, Brigitte and Florian run a tidy full-service operation, with
wine production subsidized by a little wine tavern and B&B (in this
cased, a chalet-style inn that we're dying to visit), everything
perched at 500 meters above the Isarco (Eisack) River northeast of
Bolzano. The estate is old-school and organic, because they've always
farmed this way.
We love this grape variety—Vernatsch (a.k.a. Schiava), the closest
thing to a chillable, chuggable red you find in Northern Italy—and we
love this place—the Italian Alps. Here, Vernatsch makes a
light-bodied wine that is fresh and low in both tannins and alcohol,
reminiscent of a French Trousseau, Poulsard or feather-weight Gamay.
The region is more famous for its white wines, which are gorgeously
crisp and aromatic, but it’s the floral, mineral-driven red Vernatsch
that the locals drink daily. Because with high-toned red fruit,
cherry and sweet spice on the finish, this wine is easy and
refreshing, especially when served slightly chilled as a
post-hike/post-ski/post-work partner for a plate of cheese and salumi
or a cheesy pasta dish. Not glou glou, but a perfect winter-weight
light red for the mood and the food of the season.