Set your sights higher for sparkling wine and try the highest. Josef Reiterer’s winery 1200m up north Italy’s Meltina mountain in Molten, is Europe’s highest sparkling winery. Before 1973 the only way to reach it was by cable car.
The Alto Adige region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the early 20thcentury. German is still the main language while Italian is spoken in the next province south, Trentino. “Arunda” means “Alpine pasture”.
73-year-old Josef and Marianne Reiterer introduced the “metodo classico” and “prise-de-mousse” to the south Tyrol. An enology graduate, Josef previously worked as the Italian agent for “Setz”, the German manufacturer of oenological instruments. He made his first 300 bottles in 1976 from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc and disgorged them in 1978.Today he sells 130,000 bottles a year.”
Says Josef: “The natural temperature variations of this altitude allow for a natural and peaceful maturation of our wines. It takes at least 24 months to give Arunda sparkling wines the richness, elegance, and complexity that has made them famous. Some of our Cuvée rests in the cellar for over sixty months.“
Reiterer has no vineyards of his own, sourcing grapes from 11 hectares of local vineyards. The Chardonnay grows in Terlan on porphyry soils, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc grow in the communes of Eppan and Girlan on alluvial soils with loam, and both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir also come from pure limestone soils in the commune of Salurn.
Arunda Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut NV, 13% is 100% Chardonnay from porphyry soils, fermented and aged in 100% used barrique, aged without malolactic fermentation for at least three years on lees.
Arunda Cuvée Marianna Extra Brut is made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir using three vintages of barrique-aged Chardonnay and one vintage of stainless-steel-fermented Pinot Noir. It has been aged for three years on lees and a further two years after disgorgement. The Rose Brut is made from Pinot Blanco, Pinot Nero, and Schilcher.
Arunda Riserva Extra Brut 2013, is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, vinified in stainless steel and aged for five years. Says Josef: “The nose is full of fruit. Is it a red apple? IS it Mirabelle plum? Or red plum or even berry? That pervasive, plump fruitiness is wrapped in creamy smoothness and accentuated even more by fine mousse. Like all our wines, there is a subtle, rounded touch of honeyed evolution. Gorgeous, creamy, bold, and fresh!”
A real taste of the high life.