Elena Walch Beyond The Clouds White Blend 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Great elegance and impressive length make this Alto Adige chardonnay a remarkable wine, in the context of cool-climate chardonnay. Still a bit shy on the nose, but on the palate, the mandarin oranges and pears are almost perfectly integrated with oak. Drink or hold.
Elena Walch is a leading Alto Adige wine estate, in family hands, and belongs to the elite in Italian wine production, with international success. Encouraging quality and innovation, Elena Walch stood at the head of the Alto Adige quality revolution and has gained local and international esteem for her efforts.
The philosophy of the estate is dedicated to its terroir – the idea that wines must be the individual expression of their soil, climate and cultivation in the vineyard – and that this must be maintained according to principles of sustainability and passed on to the next generation.
The picturesque single estates of Castel Ringberg and Kastelaz are the heart of Elena Walch's vineyards, now working on a vineyard surface of 55ha. With sustainability being one of the core values at Elena Walch, the wines reflect the various terroirs they originate from. Finally, with the aim of making only the highest quality wines, Elena Walch has been honored with several national as well as international awards.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.