Coltorenzio Pinot Bianco




One of the false myths in the wine world is that wines made from cooperatives are insipid, not noteworthy juice, only fit for the bulk wine market.   While cooperative wineries in France have, until the last 20 years or so, been responsible for perpetuating this myth, cooperatives in the Alto Adige (or Südtirol in German, the first language of many inhabitants here) have always made wines of great quality, finesse, and terroir.  

Perhaps it’s because of the contrast between the warm summers and cold winters of vineyards grafted onto the Dolomite foothills. With its generally cool nights even in the height of summer, Alto Adige is able to produce some very focused flavors and a degree of finesse.  In the more northern part of the appellation, farms tend to be smaller, and it is often economically unfeasible for small farmers to produce and market wine.  

Colterenzio was formed in 1960 when 28 farmers formed a cooperative in order to gain their independence from the wine merchants of the time. These rebels named the newly-founded cooperative after their homeland, the small hamlet of Schreckbichl, (Colterenzio in Italian).  

Unlike the French co-ops which by paying by the ton, encouraged farmers to overcrop and bring lower quality fruit to the winery, Colerenzio works with farmers to encourage quality over quantity.  Now over 300 farmer families are members of the co-op, located south of Bolzano in the Adige river valley. 12 varieties cultivated. 45% of production is red wine, 55% white wine. 300 days of sunshine a year.  

Jancis Robinson:  “The two neighboring wine regions of Trentino (the lower, more southerly part of the Adige valley around the town of Trento) and the upper Adige valley produce Italy’s most alpine wines in a region dominated by exceptionally competent co-operatives or cantine. Those of Bolzano, Caldaro, Colterenzio, Cortaccia, San Michele Appiano, Terlano and Termeno are notably quality-minded.”  

Alto Adige wines tend to be brighter, less reliant on oak, focused, and clean, and these value-priced wines from Colterenzio are benchmarks of those descriptors.  These are all value-priced wines, that hopefully will find their way regularly into your homes and into your glasses.

While many people associate Pinot Grigio with the Alto Adige, it’s Weissburgunder/Pinot Bianco that the natives drink.  Look for aromas of white spring flowers, ripe Bartlett pear, and roasted almonds take the lead. The juicy, round palate offers lemon pastry, juicy golden apples, and a nutmeg note alongside fresh acidity. It finishes on a slightly sweet note recalling glazed brown sugar.

The name Cora is a composition of the two Latin words Cornelianum (Cornaiano) and Appianum (Appiano). The female name underlines the elegance of the wine.  Excellent Alto Adige fruit, from vineyards at 1475-1800 feet of altitude, particularly distinctive for Pinot Bianco. Soils are gravelly with high calcium carbonate content; cool micro-climate with strong contrasts between day and night time temperatures. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with the temperature-controlled at approx.65°F, a small part of the must is put in large wooden casks. The new wine subsequently matures for several months on the fine lees.

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