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.

From: Trentino & Alto Adige: The Sky’s the Limit (June 2022)

94 2019 Blauburgunder Riserva

The 2019 Blauburgunder Riserva is perfumed and spicy. Sweet mint, citrus and crushed chalk complement vivid wild strawberry notes. This is silky yet cool-toned in feel, with brisk acidity guiding its tart red fruits. Rosy inner florals evolve toward the close. It finishes lightly structured and remarkably fresh with crunchy minerality and raspberry traces. I love the purity and refined structure within. The 2019 is simply stunning.

93 2019 Lagrein Riserva Berger Gei

A beautiful blend of crushed stone, lavender and violets gives way to black currants as the 2019 Lagrein Riserva Gries Berger Gei blossoms in the glass. While silky and plaint upon entry, this quickly gains in tension, saturating with its tart wild berry fruits, mineral tones and grippy tannins. The 2019 finishes structured and long. Sour citrus and blackberry notes, coming from the wine’s youthful state, o!er relief as the wine fades. This zesty rendition of Berger Gei demands cellaring, yet I expect it will always pack a serious punch. I can’t wait to try it again in three to five years.

93 2020 Weißburgunder Limes

The 2020 Weißburgunder Limes blossoms in the glass with a dusty bouquet of yellow flowers, crystalized ginger and baked pear. It’s round and soothing on the palate, showing its minerality up front, creating a salty-sweet sensation as ripe orchard fruits cascade throughout. This finishes with fantastic length and tension as liquid stone and lemony citrus notes slowly fade. This is a tremendous style of Pinot Bianco that has medium-term cellaring potential. The Limes is a single- parcel wine from a limestone-rich location. It spends an extra year on the lees refining in large oak casks.

93 2019 Chardonnay vom Kalk

The 2019 Chardonnay vom Kalk captivates with a delicate mix of spring flowers and apricot accentuated by a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. This displays a brilliant presence on the palate, salty and savory at times, yet full of vibrant ripe fruits, all contrasted by exotic spice. The 2019 finishes incredibly long, as residual acids keep the mouth watering for more. The Chardonnay vom Kalk refines for a year in a combination of 350 and 500-liter barrels (all neutral) with weekly battonage. It’s a beauty.

92 2020 Mitterberg Weiss Trias

The 2020 Weiss Trias is seductive, lifting from the glass with a slightly tropical blend of sweet spices and florals complementing young peach aromas. This washes across the palate with silky textures, verging on oily, as a wave of brisk acidity cuts through, giving way to mineral-tinged orchard fruits. The 2020 finishes with a salty flourish. Vanilla custard and white chocolate notes slowly fade. The Weiss Trias is a blend of 75% Chardonnay and 30% Petit Manseng and Manzoni Bianco.

92 2021 Weißburgunder Berg

The 2021 Weißburgunder Berg is dusty and sweetly floral, with confectionary spice and crushed yellow apple scents forming its bouquet. This is wonderfully pure and refreshing, with ripe orchard fruits elevated by crisp acidity. The 2021 finishes with decent length and potency. A tinge of saline minerals adds further depth. This is a stunning vintage of Berg.