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Sultry Bordeaux Blend from Italy’s Alto Adige

Peter Dipoli “Iugum” (Alto Adige 2011)
Special Price: ~$43/bottle

Just about every region in the world capable of growing wine grapes produces some Bordeaux-style blend. Quite often the commitment to plant these international grape varieties is based more on perceived market demand than climate and soil. Not so with Peter Dipoli. After careful study of a 2.7 acre vineyard on the southeast-facing slopes over the tiny hamlet of Magré, he purchased the plot in the early 90s. Not only is this vineyard one of the warmest sites of the Alto Adige, the soil has a high content of clay over limestone, characteristics that Peter considered ideal for the specific purpose of planting and vinifying Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A dramatic corridor into the Austrian Alps, the Alto Adige is Italy’s most northerly production zone. German is a more common language than Italian in this cultural (and viticultural) melting pot. So it was not a flippant decision to produce these varieties associated more with warmer coastal regions. As it turns out, Peter knew exactly what he was doing all along and the evidence is clearly in the bottle.

Dispel any notion that ripeness might be an issue from this Alpine terroir. The 2011 Iugum is an exuberant, forward wine. Black cherry and plum, damp earth and spice, licorice, tobacco, the bouquet is heady over a dense body and silky tannins until a sip finishes long and juicy as only a cool climate wine could. It’s a crowd-pleaser by any measure.

Iugum is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in 1992 at around 900 feet of elevation. The Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for 12 months in new barriques and the Merlot is aged for 12 months in second and third run barriques. After blending and aging for 60 days stainless steel tanks, the wine is bottled and aged for another two years before release. This is a wine capable of medium term cellar development but it is definitely not required. Less than 550 cases are produced.

Peter Dipoli “Voglar” (Alto Adige 2013)
Price: $31/bottle

From a seven acre vineyard at an altitude of 1,600-1,800 feet originally planted to Schiava, a local red variety, but from 1988 to 1991 entirely replaced with Sauvignon Blanc. Peter concluded that Voglar’s site exposition, height and chalky character combined in a specific way to favor perfect ripening, without loss of acid and aroma. After harvest, the wine is fermented and aged in large acacia casks on the lees for eight months and then bottled and cellared for another eight months. The result is a wine expressive of ripe orchard fruit and elderflower with plenty of minerality to balance. Only 2,500 cases are produced.

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Posted on 2017.03.15 in Italy, Saturday Sips, Trentino Alto Adige


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