Kofererhof Valle Isarco Kerner 2009
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Kofererhof is one of the jewels in Italian oenology today. These brilliant, pure whites capture the essence of the Isarco Valley, Italy's most northerly appellation. In short, I cant recommend these wines highly enough.
Weingut Köfererhof is one of Italy’s smallest and best white wine producers. Just about any grape variety owner Günther Kerschbaumer touches turns to gold. Over the years, he has fashioned remarkably delicious and age worthy wines from the likes of Sylvaner, Riesling, Kerner, Müller-Thurgau and other varieties.
Köfererhof is located in Alto Adige’s beautiful Valle Isarco subregion, next to the town of Novacella and not far from Bressanone (or Brixen, in German, as Alto Adige is the German part of Italy). The Valle Isarco is one of Italy’s true hotbeds of high-quality white wine production, and the only place in Italy where you will find world-class wines made from Kerner and Sylvaner (varieties that aren’t grown much in the rest of Alto Adige, never mind Italy). Founded in 1940, the estate is run today by Günther Kerschbaumer, who took over the reins from his father Peter in 2010, after having learned the craft by working alongside him for roughly ten years. The family has only been bottling wine since the 1995 vintage; before that, like many others in the Valle Isarco, they sold grapes to the Abbazia di Novacella, the area’s largest producer, and they previously raised livestock as well. Today, Köfererhof is fully devoted to wine production, though it also boasts a wonderful stube, or alpine restaurant, full of rustic charm that whips up accurately cooked, flavorful and highly typical Alto Adige specialties
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 wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, 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 wine 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.