Buongiorno agli amici della vigna,
The mountainous reaches of northeastern Italy’s Alto Adige region have witnessed the ebb and flow of civilization and its ambitions, all of which pass away as steadily and quietly as glacial melt. Many settlers have left their mark, from Otzi the Neolithic Iceman (www.iceman.it; clearly a relative of mine…), to the Romans, to the Austro-Hungarian empire, to the current day Italian bureaucracy. No matter how mankind stakes its claim or draws its borders, the timeless elemental forces of nature are truly what has shaped this place, carving out these majestic mountain valleys over the millenia. The place name that has the deepest roots for this region is the Tyrol: the area encompassing contemporary southern Bavaria, western Austria, and Trentino-Alto Adige aka the Sudtirol (southern Tyrol).
If one spends even a short amount of time here, it becomes quickly evident that this place has a stronger germanic identity than Italian. From the thick german accent with which the majority of inhabitants speak Italian, to place names, to the foods that they eat and grapes that they grow, all reveal the deeper cultural legacy of a germanic people and, even more so, a Tyrolean people. Pictured above is the town of Bressanone or Brixen of the Eisack valley. You can see terraced vineyards both surrounding the town and on the distant mountainsides, and it is here that we meet today’s introduction……..
The Pacherhof estate has been in direct family lineage since 1142. www.pacherhof.it The Pacher family (hof is a suffix meaning “farm, estate”) has farmed this land near Neustift north of Bressanone throughout this time….almost 900 years!!! The gravel and sandy soils allow for excellent drainage, while the large diurnal temperature swing allows for chilly mountain nights, and warm solar days; the terraced land with southern exposure allows for maximal ripeness. These are the elements that allow for both a textural richness and driving acidity/cut, intensely fruited yet refreshing wines of moderate alcohol. Although 60% of the wine grown in the Sudtirol is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio (often called Rulander here), and Pinot blanc, it is the germanic varieties that truly shine, offering a profile unique to the Eisack valley without rival on Earth….: Kerner, Muller Thurgau, Sylvaner, dry Riesling, dry Gewurtztraminer……
Whilst the historical legacy of this farm is impressive, it is the vision and ambition of the current generation that has pushed quality to new heights. Josef Huber, who married a Pacher daughter, and his son Andreas have intensified their commitment to quality above all else. The estate is now farmed organically, and is in the process of converting to biodyamics. In the cool and marginal climate of the Sudtirol, this is very ambitious indeed, and requires the most diligent of vineyard work. Under this ethic, the estate has emerged as a leader in the region, setting the standard for what is possible in the Sudtirol, the full peacock’s tail of aromas and flavors as can only exist here…….
I chose to bring in a bit of all 9 of their wines from the 2011 vintage; I love the breadth of flavors and aromas that are possible!!
Here are some press reviews from Ian d’Agata and Antonio Galloni of the 2010s and 2008s, NOT THESE 2011S (there is no press yet on the 11s):
2011 Pacherhof Muller Thurgau $16
“Pale, green-tinged color. Highly perfumed nose of white peach, minerals, lemon and white flowers, lifted by a delicate spicy note. Enters fresh and vibrant, then turns fuller and sweeter in the mid-palate, with dominant flavors of white peach and lemon. Offers very good energy without coming across as hard and finishes very long and pure, with an emerging saline element. Outstanding Muller-Thurgau; the variety will never rival riesling for complexity, but examples as good as this one are lipsmackingly delicious. And Pacherhof’s is an archetype of the quality Muller can attain in Alto Adige.” 92 points Ian d’Agata for the 2010
2011 Pacherhof Sauvignon blanc $16
2011 Pacherhof Gruner Veltliner $17
“The 2008 Gruner Veltliner is another superb white. This is one of the more complete wines in the line up as it offers both gorgeous aromatics but is backed up with terrific depth and richness in its fruit. Passion fruit, lime, flowers and spices all come together in this superb, complex and subtle Gruner. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2012. ” 91 points Antonio Galloni
2011 Pacherhof Sylvaner $17
“Pale straw color with a hint of green. Crystallized stone fruits, exotic herbs, lemon verbena and flowers on the nose. Juicy, fruit-driven flavors of lemon, quince, pear and apricot are given grip and verve by sound acidity. Long and fresh on the aftertaste.” 90 points Ian d’Agata for the 2010
2011 Pacherhof Pinot Grigio $17
“Bright medium yellow. Stone fruits, candied pear, sweet spices and a hint of licorice on the nose. Juicy and sappy, but with limited dimension to the fruit and spice flavors. This recently bottled wine is better on the nose today, and should be given another six months in the cellar to come around. Finishes smooth, fresh and long.” Ian d’Agata for the 2010
2011 Pacherhof Gewurtztraminer $20
“Bright straw-gold. Pungent, floral aromas of pink grapefruit, orange blossom, smoky bacon and sweet spices. Suave, dense and fresh, with harmonious acidity giving the wine’s floral and ripe tropical fruit flavors terrific lift. A less opulent, more refined version of Gewurz …” 90 points Ian d’Agata for the 2010
2011 Pacherhof Kerner $20
“(total acidity 6.5 g/l) Straw-yellow with a golden tinge. Stone fruits, minerals, fresh herbs and a hint of licorice on the nose. Juicy, fruit-driven flavors of lemon, green apple and pear are complicated by a minty nuance. Finishes long and uncommonly rich and full for a sylvaner: you’d never guess this has 4.4 g/l residual sugar. From 35-year-old vines, this is very serious stuff.” 91 points Ian d’Agata for the 2010
2011 Pacherhof Riesling $20
“Medium straw-green. There’s a very strong mineral component to the floral aromas of white peach and lemon-lime, plus the white pepper note that is tyical of Valle Isarco rieslings. The palate offers a lovely rich mouth feel, with tangerine, pear and lemon flavors and a very long finish. From young vines harvested on October 30. A very promising wine worth keeping an eye on as the vines age.” Ian d’Agata on the 2006 Riesling. The vines are now 5 years older…..
2011 Pacherhof Sylvaner Alte Reben $29
“The 2008 Sylvaner Alte Reben is more focused than the regular bottling, with intense mineral notes of petrol, smoke and ash that add complexity to a richly textured core of fruit. The wine finishes with exceptional elegance and finesse. This is a superb effort from Pacherhof. ” 92 points Antonio Galloni
I am thrilled to bring such a broad swath of the unique beauty of Alto Adige stateside. This was one of the first wine growing regions that captivated my attention as a budding enthusiast; the aromatic range alone is amazing….crisp aromatic whites for Springtime, anyone?? Sounds good to me…….all in stock, and good to go. As always, with any questions or interests:firstname.lastname@example.org
CHEERS TO THE BEAUTY OF THE TYROL, AND THE LOVE’S LABOR OF THE HUBER FAMILY!