Santa Maddalena 2015
"In the past, Santa Maddalena – a traditional cuvée blended from the two indigenous grape varieties Schiava and Lagrein – played an important role in wine making in South Tyrol and was one of the best known Italian reds. Today this fine fruity and typical elegant red wine, which takes its name from the wine growing village of Santa Maddalena, still has many adherents and is in the process of being rediscovered by many a wine connoisseur."
- Doc denomination: Alto Adige
- Variety: 85% Schiava, 15% Lagrein
- History of the variety: first vintage 1965
- Year: 2015
- Bottles produced: 33,000
- Yield: 63 hl/ha
- Quality line: The classics
Manual harvest and selection of the grapes; destemming followed by slow must fermentation at a controlled temperature and gentle agitation of the must in stainless steel tanks; malolactic fermentation and aging in big wooden barrels for 7-10 months; blending one month before bottling.
- Country: Alto Adige Santa Maddalena DOC
- Provenance: Bolzano
- Altitude: 250 - 900 m a. s. l.
- Slope: 5 - 70 %
- Orientation: South - Southwest
- Color: deep ruby red
- Smell: The Santa Maddelena appeals to the nose with clear primary aromas of black elderberry and cherry underpinned by bitter almond and a nuance of violet.
- Taste: With full fruit flavors on the palate, too, and yet soft and elegant at the same time, this red wine benefits from a balanced acidity and low tannin content – a unique feature of the schiava grape – to achieve a very agreeable finish.
A classic South Tyrolean pairing with a platter of cured meats like bacon and Bündnerfleisch or a venison carne salada with potted mushroom and a cream cheese mousse, or cold beef with vinaigrette dressing; equally attractive with tagliatelle with salsiccia or boiled beef with salsa verde and parsley potatoes.
2015 will go down in the history of viticulture as hot and dry but generally a good year. As a result of a combination of high temperatures and low levels of precipitation, the water supply to the vines was at the lower limit, and the vines produced loose clusters of small grapes – ideal conditions for top quality wines.
New shoots appeared on the vines towards the end of March and beginning of April. Spring brought both a little rain and numerous days with above-average temperatures. The vines made correspondingly rapid progress, and by mid-May the first inflorescences started to blossom. In the following weeks, summer consolidated its hold and the warmest June on record for South Tyrol was followed by a July with more record temperatures and numerous nights with temperatures above 20°C. That slowed down the ripening process in the lower-level vineyards and harmonized the vegetation stages on all the sites. Irrigation measures were taken to avoid desiccation and negative effects in terms of quality. Lignification proceeded quickly and well, and the ripening of the grapes also made fast progress. Thanks to the sunny days of late summer, it was possible to start harvesting the grapes at the end of August already. The biggest challenge at this point was choosing the ideal date for the harvest to ensure that the grapes had achieved phenolic maturity and offered a good balance between sugars and acidity.
One of the most famous sites in Alto Adige, with a history of wine-growing that goes back over the centuries, occupies the hills and steep slopes of the Santa Maddalena area north of Bolzano. The well ventilated and easily warmed morainic soils based on porphyry and dolomite produce the eponymous Schiava.
The high peaks of the main Alpine chain protect South Tyrol from the Atlantic winds and cold northerlies, while the region benefits from the Mediterranean climate from the south. That explains the pronounced differences between day- and night-time temperatures, which are the key to full maturity and elegant wines.
To the south, a number of mountain massifs like the Adamello also have a protective function. As a result, annual precipitation is only about one-third of the average for the southern Alpine foothills, and the number of hours of sunshine is higher. The climatic conditions are not unlike those to be found in wine-growing areas like the Swiss Canton Valais.
When the sun rises behind the mountains east of Terlano on one of the year’s 300 sunny days, it is already high in the sky as the wine-growing area has a westerly to southwesterly exposure. The lower atmospheric density permits more direct solar irradiation with less diffuse sunlight. That increases the difference between the slopes on the sunny and shady sides of the valley.
Microclimate in Terlano
Continental climate (Cfa Köppen-Geiger)
Annual sunshine hours: ø 2135
Maximum temperatures: 38,2 °C
Average temperatures: 12,9 °C
Minimum temperatures: -10,7°C
Annual precipitation: ø 558 mm
Average global radiation: 150,1 W/m²
- North foehn: cool and dry down-slope wind
- Ora: valley wind system from the south, bringing in air from the Po Valley
- ViniBuoni d'Italia 2017:
- James Suckling 2016: 90 points
- Alcohol content: 13.0 % vol
- Residual sugar: 2.8 g/l
- Total acidity: 4.7 g/l
- Storage advice: Cool storage at constant temperatures, high level of humidity, good ventilation and as little light as possible
- Cellar temperature: 10 - 15 °C
- Minimum maturity: 1 years
- Serving temperature: 12 - 14 °C