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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 203, February 2021   
Contrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige GewürztraminerContrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 202, January 2021 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 204, March 2021

Contrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer

The two aromatic white berried grapes compared in the glasses of this month's tasting by contrast

 Aromatic grapes, meaning those really belonging to this restricted category, are undeniably capable of making wines of remarkable charm and elegance. The exuberant characteristic of their wines of expressing an intense aroma of grapes to the nose – in particular and specifically, of grape juice – gives the aromatic varieties a personality, so to speak, special and rare, also thanks to the fact there are only three varieties belonging to the category of the so-called “aromatic grapes ”: Muscat, in its many biotypes, Gewürztraminer and Brachetto. To this restricted category, some also add the huge family of Malvasia grapes which, in certain cases, biotypes and territories, can actually produce wines that, to the nose, express a scent of grape juice. Specifically, these are wines with an intensity of primary aroma of grape juice rather modest if compared with the wines made from the three primary aromatic grapes.

 For this reason, some proposed the idea – which has never been adopted unanimously – of creating the new category of semi-aromatic varieties, to which would belong the grapes which wines recall the primary aroma of grape but not in a dominant way, including Malvasia grapes. This month, in our tasting by contrast, we will compare the two white aromatic varieties par excellence: Muscat and Gewürztraminer. When we talk about Muscat, it is actually better to refer to its large family which is made up of different biotypes, all characterized by the quality of making wines with a strong aroma of fresh grape juice. We will focus on a particular biotype – Moscato di Terracina, a famous variety of the homonymous territory in the province of Latina, Italy – and on the expression offered by Gewürztraminer in its favorite territory and which, not surprisingly, is also considered to be its land of origin: Alto Adige (South Tyrol).

 

Moscato di Terracina


 

 The territory of Terracina – in the province of Latina – despite being today associated with the enological success of the homonymous Muscat grape, has a long viticultural and wine making tradition. In fact, there are many historical documents proving Terracina's bond with wine, dating back to the 1400s, however it is believed viticulture was introduced in these places by the ancient Greeks. The dominant grape of Terracina is undeniably Muscat, which presence in this area was already deeply rooted at the times before the arrival of phylloxera. Because of the advent of this parasite, Moscato di Terracina underwent a progressive decline, even risking its disappearance, also because of the replanting of other varieties. Thanks to the tenacious and passionate work of some producers, Muscat grapes have today reconquered the enological scene of Terracina, proving a remarkable quality with the production of wines and in different styles, from sparkling to sweet wines, from dry to slightly sweet ones.

 Moscato di Terracina is a biotype belonging to the large family of Muscat grapes which, in all probability, has undergone an adaptation to this territory and became a biotype in itself. The origin of Moscato di Terracina is not very clear and, although there are many similarities with Muscat of Alexandria – known in Sicily as Zibibbo – the analogy has never been proven. Another theory believes it is similar to Moscato Giallo, but, even in this case, there are no reliable evidences. Given its uniqueness and for the fact it is found only in this territory, Moscato di Terracina is therefore considered as a specific biotype belonging to the Muscat family of grapes. It should be noted that Moscato di Terracina is considered a dual-purpose variety, as it is used both as a table grape and for the production of wines. The production area is recognized as a Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin, DOC) and takes the name of Terracina or Moscato di Terracina, and includes all the territories of the municipalities of Monte San Biagio, Terracina and Sonnino, all in the province of Latina.

 

Alto Adige Gewürztraminer

 Alto Adige is indisputably one of the Italian regions with the most marked vocation for the production of white wines. Favored by particular climatic conditions, mainly with mild temperatures and typically mountain meteorological factors, the territory is well suited to the cultivation of white grapes which give wines with a remarkable elegance and finesse. There are, of course, extraordinary examples of red grapes and wines which in Alto Adige, thanks to the particular environmental and climatic conditions, express remarkable peaks of excellence. The moderate temperatures certainly help the aromatic expression of many white grape varieties, especially those which, in areas characterized by a hot climate, make wines with ordinary aromas. One of the varieties reaching levels of absolute excellence in this region certainly is Gewürztraminer, a grape of powerful aromatic exuberance and which originates in Alto Adige, specifically, in Termeno, the Italian name of the Tramin village.

 The name of this variety is made from the union of two German language terms: gewürz, literally “spice” and which, in this case, would take the meaning of “aromatic”, and traminer, that is, coming from Tramin. The literal translation would therefore be “aromatic from Tramin”, usually called “Aromatic Traminer”. Gewürztraminer is supposed to be the result of the crossing of wild vines from central and eastern-central Europe, becoming, over the time, a specific variety with a strong primary aroma of grape juice. However, the history of Gewürztraminer is not clear, and it is supposed to have arrived in Termeno after a long journey, made up of adaptations and crossings, from Alsace, assuming – moreover – the derivation from the Savagnin Blanc variety, the famous white grape used for the renowned Vin Jaune of the French Jura. However, the history of this variety remains uncertain and difficult to determine also because of the instability of its genome. In Alto Adige – and this is a certainty – Gewürztraminer proves to have perfectly adapted itself to the environment, by making wines of absolute excellence.

 

The Tasting


The
color of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer
The color of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer

 We are about to start this month's tasting by contrast and, before pouring the wines into the glasses, we will pick the bottles we are going to evaluate. Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer are not difficult to find in shops, however we should consider, in any case, that the South Tyrolean wine is certainly easier to find than the one from Latium. In both cases, we will choose wines belonging to the most recent vintage in order to have wines capable of fully expressing their aromas without the influence of the evolution of time. As for the wine making production technique, we will make sure both Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer are produced in inert containers, in particular, in steel tanks. It is – in truth – the most frequent wine making procedure for these two wines and, generally speaking, for those produced with aromatic varieties, in order to keep the primary quality of aromaticity. The wines are poured into their respective tasting glasses at a temperature of 10 °C (50 °F).

 Let's pour Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer in the glasses and let's start this month's tasting by contrast, proceeding with the appearance examination of the wine produced in the province of Latina. Let's tilt Moscato di Terracina's glass over a white surface – a sheet of paper is enough – and evaluate the color of the wine, observing the base of the glass. We can clearly see a straw yellow color with hints of gold and the transparency, evaluated by placing an object in contrast between the glass and the white surface, is decidedly very high. The nuance of Moscato di Terracina, observed at the edge of the glass, towards the opening where the wine becomes thin, confirms the straw yellow color. Let's move on to the evaluation of the appearance of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer, observing the color at the base of the glass. We see an intense straw yellow color, often golden, generally deeper and darker than Moscato di Terracina. Transparency is, also in this case, very high while the nuance of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer, observed at the edge of the glass, shows an evident golden yellow hue.

 Welcome to the world where everything smells of grapes. Wines produced with aromatic varieties are in fact characterized by the intense expression of the primary aroma of the grape, more specifically, of fresh grape juice. It is a quality belonging, in fact, only to real aromatic varieties, a category to which both Muscat and Gewürztraminer belong. These wines are easily recognizable thanks to the powerful intensity of this specific aroma and which is not perceivable – with the same strength and dominance – in all the other wines. Wines produced with aromatic varieties, of course, are also much more than the charming aroma of grapes and certainly capable of expressing even rather complex olfactory sensations. In this regard it must be said that, despite the aromatic varieties can, in some way, guarantee an advantage in the olfactory pleasantness of a wine, the complexity, richness and beauty of these wines is actually obtained only by adopting high quality viticultural and enological practices. In fact, in wines of mediocre and ordinary quality produced with aromatic varieties, the perception of the primary aroma is the only notable quality, although it is neither intense nor clean, simply confused in the lack of elegance of the entire olfactory profile.

 Let's resume our tasting by contrast of this month and proceed with the evaluation of the olfactory profiles of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer. In this regard, it is necessary to make a premise. The superficial evaluation of these wines could make one think the similarities are greater than the differences, in particular, because of the intensity of the primary aroma of grape. Indeed, in the sensorial evaluation of these wines, the “difficulty” is represented by the ability of analyzing the organoleptic sensations beyond the primary and initial grape aroma. The first wine of which we evaluate the olfactory profile is Moscato di Terracina. Let's hold the glass in vertical position and do the first smell in order to evaluate its opening. From the glass we perceive – clean, intense and powerful – the aroma of grape followed by peach, sage and apple. After having swirled the glass and did the second smell, the olfactory profile of the wine from Latium is completed with apricot, lychee, banana, citrus fruits and, often, a hint of almond. Let's now evaluate the opening of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer: from the glass we perceive, also in this case very powerful and intense, the primary aroma of grape followed by peach, white rose and lychee. After having swirled the glass and did the second smell, the profile of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer is completed with apricot, mango, honey, pineapple, sage, candied fruit and pear.

 Let's move on to the evaluation of the gustatory profiles of the two wines of our tasting by contrast, starting, as in the previous phases, from Moscato di Terracina. Let's take a sip of the wine from Latium and examine its attack, that is the preliminary and identifying gustatory sensations of the wine. In the mouth we perceive a pleasing crispness given by acidity as well as a good structure, although not so robust. Balance is obtained thanks to the effect of alcohol and the pleasing roundness of Muscat. In the mouth we can perceive – clean and intense – the flavors of grape juice, peach and apple. Let's now evaluate the taste profile of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer and take a sip of this wine in order to appreciate its attack. In the mouth we perceive the clean and pleasing crispness of acidity that finds balance both with the effect of alcohol and roundness, more intense than Moscato di Terracina. The structure of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer is also fuller than the one of the wine from Latium. In the mouth are clearly perceived the flavors of grape, lychee, peach and apricot.

 We are about to end this month's tasting by contrast, therefore proceed with the evaluation of the final sensations of the two wines, in particular the taste-olfactory persistence, primary factor of sensorial quality. As in the previous phases, let's start with the evaluation of Moscato di Terracina. The finish of the Latium wine is of good persistence, leaving a pleasing sensation of crispness in the mouth, given by the acidity, and a modest roundness. In the mouth we still clearly perceive the flavor of grape as well as peach and apple. Let's now pass to the evaluation of the Alto Adige Gewürztraminer's finish. Also in this case we can perceive a good persistence, in which we get the pleasing crispness of acidity, supported by an accentuated sensation of roundness. In the mouth we also perceive, intense and pleasing, the flavors of grape, peach, lychee and banana. Two wines produced with grapes belonging to the same category, that of aromatic varieties, however very different from each other, with the only element in common represented by the aroma of grape juice, but definitely distant and not only for geographical reasons.

 



 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 203, February 2021   
Contrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige GewürztraminerContrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 202, January 2021 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 204, March 2021

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Lago di Caldaro Classico Superiore Quintessenz 2019, Kellerei Kaltern - Caldaro (Alto Adige, Italy)
Lago di Caldaro Classico Superiore Quintessenz 2019
Kellerei Kaltern - Caldaro (Alto Adige, Italy)
Schiava
Price: € 12.90 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry followed by aromas of rose, violet, plum, cyclamen, carob, almond and vanilla.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry.
6 months in cement tanks and cask.
Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Cold cuts, Sauteed meat, Mushroom soups



Alto Adige Moscato Giallo Passito Quintessenz 2016, Kellerei Kaltern - Caldaro (Alto Adige, Italy)
Alto Adige Moscato Giallo Passito Quintessenz 2016
Kellerei Kaltern - Caldaro (Alto Adige, Italy)
Moscato Giallo
Price: € 35.00 - 375ml Score:

Brilliant amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, dried apricot and passion fruit followed by aromas of white rose, citrus peel, lavender, mango, dried fig, date, candied fruits, quince jam, sage, honey, hazelnut, nail polish and vanilla.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of raisin, dried apricot and passion fruit.
24 months in cask.
Confectionery, Fruit tarts, Hard and piquant cheese



Alto Adige Riesling 2019, Erste+Neue (Alto Adige, Italy)
Alto Adige Riesling 2019
Erste+Neue (Alto Adige, Italy)
Riesling
Price: € 11.50 Score:

Brilliant greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, citron and peach followed by aromas of pear, lychee, grapefruit, pineapple, broom, hazelnut, thyme and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of peach, citron and lychee.
Aged in steel tanks.
Pasta with fish and crustaceans, Sauteed white meat, Sauteed fish, Vegetable flans



Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva Puntay 2017, Erste+Neue (Alto Adige, Italy)
Alto Adige Lagrein Riserva Puntay 2017
Erste+Neue (Alto Adige, Italy)
Lagrein
Price: € 15.90 Score:

Deep ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, cocoa, tobacco, mace, vanilla and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
18 months in barrique and cask.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Maremma Toscana Ansonica Amor 2019, Moris Farms (Tuscany, Italy)
Maremma Toscana Ansonica Amor 2019
Moris Farms (Tuscany, Italy)
Ansonica
Price: € 10.90 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of pear, peach and apple followed by aromas of citron, broom, hawthorn, plum and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of pear, peach and apple.
Aged in steel tanks.
Aperitifs, Fish appetizers, Risotto with vegetables, Dairy products, Eggs



Maremma Toscana Rosso Barbaspinosa 2017, Moris Farms (Tuscany, Italy)
Maremma Toscana Rosso Barbaspinosa 2017
Moris Farms (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (90%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%)
Price: € 13.50 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and black currant followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, blackberry, carnation, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and black currant.
12 months in barrique, 4 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Vermut Sospeso 2019, Bespoke Distillery (Campania, Italy)
Vermut Sospeso 2019
Bespoke Distillery (Campania, Italy)
Vini italiani e da uve moscato aromatizzati con erbe ed essenze
Price: € 29.00 Score:

Dark amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of coffee, citrus peel and hazelnut followed by aromas of dried fig, artemisia, rhubarb, almond, sandal wood and vanilla.
Sweet and properly tannic attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of coffee, rhubarb and artemisia with hints of sweetness and bitterness.
Produced with fortified and aromatized Italian wines.
Confectionery



L'Autentica 2017, Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
L'Autentica 2017
Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Moscato Bianco (70%), Malvasia Bianca (30%)
Price: € 29.90 - 500ml Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, pear and candied fruits followed by aromas of dried apricot, dried fig, honey, citrus peel, date, almond, lavender, lychee, nail polish and vanilla.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, candied fruits and dried fig.
12 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Hard and piquant cheese, Fruit tarts, Confectionery



Aglianico del Vulture Superiore La Firma 2014, Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico del Vulture Superiore La Firma 2014
Cantine del Notaio (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 31.20 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, blackberry and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, carob, chocolate, mace, tobacco, leather, licorice, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum.
12 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat, Hard cheese



Bacco 2018, Siddura (Sardinia, Italy)
Bacco 2018
Siddura (Sardinia, Italy)
Cagnulari
Price: € 20.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of cherry, blueberry and plum followed by aromas of violet, raspberry, geranium, pomegranate, chocolate, laurel, tobacco, moss, vanilla and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, blueberry and plum.
Aged in steel tanks and in cask.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms



Moscato di Sardegna Passito Nuali 2018, Siddura (Sardinia, Italy)
Moscato di Sardegna Passito Nuali 2018
Siddura (Sardinia, Italy)
Moscato Bianco
Price: € 20.50 - 375ml Score: Wine that excels in its category

Pale amber yellow and nuances of golden yellow, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, citrus peel and peach jam followed by aromas of candied fruits, dried apricot, lychee, quince, honey, passion fruit, lavender and date.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, peach jam and lychee,
Aged in steel tanks.
Dried fruit and jam tarts, Confectionery, Piquant cheese






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 203, February 2021   
Contrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige GewürztraminerContrasts of Moscato di Terracina and Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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