Top Red Holiday Bottles from Alto Adige


It took me thirteen hours to get to Italy, and twenty-three hours to return to New York City. Sometimes the things I do to explore new wines make no sense from 30,000 feet. But once on the ground, the wines and the people almost always enrapture me and immediately make the journey worth my time.

Asked to judge two competitions – one on indigenous varieties of Alto Adige and one on Lagrein – about six months ago, I was seduced by the chance to learn more about this region. Alto Adige makes a large percentage of the highest quality wines in Italy though it makes a relatively small percentage of Italy’s overall production. 
Does this seem surprising? Just flip open a map and look closely at Bolzano’s geo-positioning. It’s smacked up against Austria , and this region is part of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which disintegrated only 100 years ago this year.
Aromatic varieties (mostly white) from this region can make one swoon, but so do the top reds. Here are some of my favorite off-the-beaten path Northern Italian red grape varieties to impress your guests, and yourself, this holiday season. 

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