Vinous - May 2023
From Trentino-Alto Adige: Knocking on Heaven’s Door (May 2023) by Eric Guido
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Ignaz Niedrist. Beyond catchy labels and easy-to-like personalities is a terroir-driven portfolio that communicates pure elegance and complexity. The winery is located in Eppan (Appiano), Alto Adige, with vineyards spread throughout Girlan (Cornaiano), Eppan Berg (Appiano Monte) and Gries near Bolzano and Lake Caldaro. While the history of this family winery goes back nearly 200 years, it was in 1989 that the current generation, Ignaz Niedrist and Elisabeth Berger, decided to breathe a new life into the operation. Before long, organic practices and a focus on biodiversity in the vineyards became the norm, along with a low-intervention approach in the cellar. Today they are joined by Maria Niedrist of the next generation, with whom I tasted and toured on a recent visit. We went through the vineyards of Girlan, home to their Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, but also the source of some fantastic Merlot and Syrah (only 120 cases). From there, we moved up to the heights of Eppan Berg. Here elevations go from 480 to 615 meters, with vineyards planted among forest outcroppings in clayey limestone and gravel soils. These sites are home to a single-vineyard Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir. While the days are long and warm in this location, winds from the higher elevations blow down in the evenings, creating strong diurnal shifts. In the past, I’ve spoken favorably about the Lagrein Berger Gei from a vineyard near Bolzano. It remains one of the top expressions of the variety in the region. Ultimately, the entire portfolio is worth checking out as these wines communicate exceptional purity, varietal character, likable personalities, and the ability to age gracefully.