2016 Kellerei Cantina Terlan, Pinot Bianco, Vorberg Riserva, Alto Adige – Terlano DOC, Italy.
The richly textured and deeply flavored Vorberg Riserva from the 2016 vintage, a ripe and highly regarded year, is a special Pinot Blanc that shows this grape in its best possible form, rivaling anything from anywhere in terms of quality and character with an array of citrus and stone fruits, delicate spices, light floral notes and leesy mouthfeel. The Terlan/Terlano winery, one of my favorite Alto Adige producers, especially for white wines like this one, but also they make one of the finest Sauvignon Blancs in the world and many others, was founded back in 1893 in this mainly German speaking region of Italian’s far north Dolomite Mountains, an area known as the South Tyrol, connected to Austria by traditions and culture. Terlan/Terlano is a cooperative in function with some 143 small artisan growers providing grapes with a total focus on high quality over quantity, pushing for organics and sustainable practices, and their track record on wines is legendary, and these wines are amazingly age worthy bottlings, I have on many occasions tasted 20 to 30 year old whites, in particular their Chardonnay, that were incredible and exceptionally fresh. Most of the vines used by Terlan/Terlano are on red porphyry, the stone that gives the wines in the area their typical character and a dusting of sand and a thin top soil, which allows a striking minerallity and a crystalline personality, along with south facing exposures that give lots of sunshine in this Alpine and pristine high elevation zone.

The golden Vorberg Riserva is full bodied and quite lush with classic honey pear, granny smith apples, tangy white peach, especially the soft flesh, quince and the racy lemony citrus fruits along with a touch of creamy brioche, almond and wet stones, as well as herb tea and the mentioned mineral essences. This well rounded, almost white Burgundy like, Pinot Blanc was vinified using only hand picked grapes, then gently whole cluster pressed and with a lengthy settling or clarification of the must by natural gravity. The slow and cool primary fermentation in unique temperature controlled big oak barrels before, as the winery notes, the wine is racked over for malolactic fermentation and aging on the lees in traditional wooden barrels for 12 months. This 100% Pinot Bianco/Pinot Blanc is a stylish and luxurious offering that highlights the terroir and the dramatic picturesque place that is the Alto Adige, very much in line with the great bottlings found at Terlano. These whites go wonderfully with the local cuisine of course, but can be really enjoyed with our California inspired dishes too, including the seafoods available as well as butter and herb roasted chicken and fresh greens, plus it can even handle artichokes, which is of importance to me in my area known for these tasty flowers. Terlan/Terlano does some fantastic stuff, so please take time to discover some of their more rare ones, look for their Quarz (Sauvignon Blanc), the Kreuth (Chardonnay), the Lunare (Gewürztraminer), plus the two blended cuvees Nova Domus and Terlaner, both of which are outrageously good!
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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