When I was asked to taste PETER ZEMMER wines from the Italian Alps, as samples, “What a rare opportunity; wines from the Italian Alps are so unfamiliar for many. Mr. Zemmer’s terroir and wines are a real treat!” I thought.
And, do you know what? We’re a curious lot, right? It’s rare enough, tasty enough, and gosh darn it, we’re adventurous. So, bring it on.
Once tasted, years ago, the first thing I learned is that Peter Zemmer delivers on his promise to capture distinct, delicious, and gutsy terroir, which then all translates well into his wines’ rich flavors, from his beloved Italian Alps. Think about that this climate for a moment, and understand that this is very site specific.
[Photo: Olaf Unger – A view of the Adige Valley from Merano to Bolzano, standing at the mountain inn.]
- HEART ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements. I’ll also add some of my own indented information.
- I can’t make up their history
- Nor am I to trying to
- SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING, THE WINERY ~ Jo Diaz has interspersed notes from some research.
- SOUL ~ SAMPLE ~ Jo Diaz Musings
The Alpine Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio offers a totally different experience, terroir-wise, BTW.The Italian Alps has picture-perfect, ski country. In 1919, this was once part of Austria’s famous South Tyrol, winter wonderland. It is also the region that was ceded to Italy; where winemakers, for generations, have worked with international grapes.
PETER ZEMMER PRESENTS
From Northern Italy’s Alto (high) Adige region, where small villages are tucked into narrow valleys, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, comes a piercingly fresh, full-of-flavor Pinot Grigio and an elegantly delightful Pinot Noir. The Adige is the second longest river in Italy after the Po. It rises into the Alps, in the province of South Tyrol. Near the Italian border with Austria and Switzerland, it flows 255 miles, through most of North-East Italy and into the Adriatic Sea.
Peter Zemmer’s extensive experience, detailed and innovative knowledge together with the perfect natural environment guarantees top quality and character of the wines. The expressive character of the wines is formed in the vineyard. Intensive nurturing of the grapevines as well as careful selection are the essential prerequisites for the authentic wines. Peter Zemmer believes the production of natural wines that accurately reflect their terroir are of utmost importance.
FROM HB WINE MERCHANTS: Today, the Adige Valley is a contender for Italy’s premier white wine region, thanks to an ideal climate, talented, individualistic winemakers, and singularly distinctive wines. This distinguished Alpine style of Pinot Grigio is leading the pack, where stylistically these flavor are already “in style.”
[PHOTO: Janos Gaspar ~ Alpine resort in the Dolomites,Cortina D Ampezzo,South Tyrol,Italy,Europe]
Peter Zemmer is one of the Alto Adige’s most respected wine-grower/winemakers, running the eponymous winery founded in 1928, by his grandfather, in the tiny 600-person village of Cortina.
You might think ski country too cold for grapes, but the average growing season temperature is 64° F, and the area enjoys an enviable 1,800 hours (about 300 days) of sunshine a year. In summer, daytime temperatures can reach the 90s, but hot days are always followed by cool nights. Add in the fact that the warm Adriatic coast is not far away and you get a singular climatic blend of Mediterranean-Alpine influences.
The Peter Zemmer winery is situated in the middle of the narrow valley floor. Zemmer feels that this location, with its well aerated vineyards and exposure to maximum sunlight, constitutes one of the best terroirs in the region. If Mother Nature provides ventilation through wind, the well-aerated soil is there – an outcome of sustainable, herbicide-free farming. Only organic fertilizer is used, resulting from the clover, wild flowers and grasses that grow between the rows of vines. Healthy, loose soil facilitates optimal water distribution and faster warming during the critical spring months.
While the average elevation is around 1,600 feet, the grapes come from both the mountain valley floor and the steep surrounding hillsides, lending adding natural complexity to the final wine. For top-notch quality, add in low yields (60 hl/ha), vigilant sorting, use of ambient yeast, slow fermentation in stainless steel, and aging on the lees for several months.
[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]
SOUL ~ 2017 PETER ZEMMER Pinot Grigio
Peter Zemmer’s Pinot Gris is very much differing from less flavorful, valley grapes, grown in the Italian Alps. Since the establishment of this family business in 1928, Peter Zemmer’s winery has been producing top-quality wines, from the finest vineyards in and around Cortina s.s.d.v., in Alto Adige – South Tyrol.
So, after all this care, what distinguishes an Alto Adige, and specifically a Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio? This alpine Alto Adige Pinot Grigio is both bracingly fresh and round in the mouth, elegantly racy, yet expertly flavorful.
Peter Zemmer’s Pinot Gris defines what wine lovers accustomed to something more bold and flavorful have come to expect, if it’s an Italian Pinot Grigio from northeastern Italy’s Peter Zemmer, it’s quality, quality, and did I mention quality?
SOUL ~ 2017 Südtirol – Alto Adige Pinot Noir
As for the PETER ZEMMER Rollhütt Pinot Noir ~ it’s softly elegant, a bit restrained. The belief of the company is to let the flavors of the wines begin in the soil, and this terroir lends itself to the Pinot Noir being authentic to the Südtirol region. This wine is a delicious 13 percent alcohol. Intended to be a great food and wine complement, it’s achieved its goal. European wines are crafted to be part of their food and wine culture. Lower alcohol wines lend themselves well to food and wine pairings, and this one is a total gem. We had it with Ribollita, and Italian version of France’s French Onion soup. In this version, not only is there a soup base, but there are also veggies and whatever the day before has for left overs. Ribolita is an authentic Italian experience. If we, as Americans, had more food consciousness and time to cook, this 2017 Südtirol – Alto Adige Pinot Noir is the blessing of the century for a wine house wine staple.
Available in major metropolitan markets nationwide for a retail price of approximately $16 per 750 ml bottle.