Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Cantina Kurtatsch’s Bordeaux variety wines

As the old joke goes, you wait and wait for a bus to come along in London and then two come along at the same time! Only for me, the ‘buses’ have been vertical tastings of ageable wines. The first of these was Cantina Kurtatsch‘s Bordeaux variety wines, Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva Freienfeld and its Merlot Riserva. This top co-operative has had surprising success with these varieties. It’s surprising because Alto Adige is really known for its great white wines and this winery certainly makes excellent Chardonnay and especially Gewurztraminer. But the thing about cooperatives is that they can choose the best plots to make premium wines. For Cabernet and Merlot, they choose the warmest, low sites (200 m above sea level), whereas the whites are grown on sites up to 900 m.

We tasted a selection of vintages from 1997 (the second last bottle of the Cabernet in the winery!) to 2019. All demonstrated a proper progression from the freshness of the fruit in the young vintages to the ability to evolve gracefully in the older ones.

Cantina Kurtatsch's Bordeaux variety wines
Cantina Kurtatsch’s Bordeaux variety wines with some showing signs of their ages!
A question about oak

My only question was why the winery has chosen to increase the level of new French oak in recent times. (The current welcome trend is to reduce new oak to allow the focus to be on the quality of the fruit.) In the past it was 30 per cent, today it is 60 per cent. For me, the oak was suppressing the fruit in the 2018 Cabernet, though in the Merlot 2019 the fruit was winning the battle. But in general, these wines were highly creditable examples of Bordeaux varieties. They showed the remarkable versatility of Alto Adige for classy whites and reds.

With thanks to Cantina Kurtatsch and to Well Com PR agency for organising this event.

I have already posted about the complete vertical of Guido Rivella’s Barbaresco Montestefano

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