Hofstätter’s Wines of Origin

Wine enthusiasts will have some familiarity with the concept of terroir: the elements including climate, soil, topography and the skills and preferences of a winemaker that make a wine unique to its place of origin. For the estate winery of J. Hofstätter, however, a deep and intimate understanding of terroir is at the core of everything they do.

Founded more than a century ago, Hofstätter farms both east and west sides of the Adige Valley in the mountainous Valle dei Ronchi in southern Trentino, working with an astounding diversity of microclimates and soils and cool-climate grape varieties like Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir). These grapes are perfectly suited to the combination of limestone, gravel and volcanic soils, intense sunlight and dramatic diurnal shifts (the change in temperature from day to night) in their high elevation vineyards. Under these conditions, grapes ripen slowly and complexity develops naturally through a long growing season. The same is true for balancing acidity and mineral notes, the latter coming from the varied soil types and the former from cool mountain nights. The results: ripe and intense Sauvignon with mineral depth and salinity; beautifully aromatic Gewürztraminer with bright and balancing acidity; and rich and earthy Pinot Nero with excellent structure and longevity.

Hofstätter’s ability to grow each of these grape varieties where it feels “most at home” in the perfect soil, at the perfect elevation and with the perfect aspect to achieve its best expression is a testament to the dedication of generations of a winemaking family that is constantly striving to uphold its philosophy of making authentic wines of origin. Uniquely expressive and replete with nuance and complexity, these are wines that truly reveal the distinct terroir of Alto Adige.

2019 Vigna Oberkerschbaum Sauvignon, Alto Adige
Retail: $64.95 / btl (6 btls/cs)

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2020 Joseph Gewürztraminer Selection, Alto Adige
Retail: $37.95 / btl (6 btls/cs)

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2019 Michei di Michei Pinot Nero, Selection, Alto Adige
Retail: $59.95 / btl (6 btls/cs)

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The Wines

2019 Vigna Oberkerschbaum Sauvignon, Alto Adige
This single-vineyard Sauvignon is a selection of the best grapes from the Oberkerschbaum farmstead in Buchholz/Salurn, a vineyard at 750-800 m (2460-2625 ft) elevation with clay and limestone gravel soils. The wine is aged on the fine lees for eight months in oak barrels to add texture on the palate, which still maintaining fruit and a distinct mineral freshness. With an intense straw-yellow colour and subtle green highlights, the wine has aromas of ripe grapefruit and bergamot mingled with delicate notes of nettle and flint. The freshness of this wine continues on the palate stretching to a long and complex finish.
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2020 Joseph Gewürztraminer Selection, Alto Adige
A perfect expression of the region’s high elevation and cool nights, grapes have naturally higher acidity than Gewürztraminer grown in warmer climates like Alsace and are fermented to a dry wine. The result is a much brighter wine with more contrast between the heady spice and floral aromas and the balanced experience on the palate. Intense aromas of dried flowers and rose petals evolve and intensify on the palate. Full-bodied and generous, the wine is still refreshing and vivacious with a long and complex finish.
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2019 Michei di Michei Pinot Nero, Selection, Alto Adige
Maso Michei, highly elevated (850 m above sea level) in a remote mountain landscape in southern Trentino, is the perfect vineyard for Pinot Nero and produces wines with elegance and longevity. Fermented 25% whole cluster to extract fresh red fruit notes and some stem tannins, the wine is rich in aromatic nuances with distinct notes of wild berries, strawberries, red currants and earthy notes of tobacco, white pepper and cloves. On the palate smooth tannins are balanced by bright acidity and a mineral thread that leads to a lengthy finish and great ageing potential.
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About J. Hofstätter

Joseph Hofstätter established this winery in 1907, in what was then Austria. Today, the Alto Adige (aka Südtirol) is Italian territory, albeit with a distinctly German accent. Both languages are used, and towns and villages have dual names. The village of Termeno (Tramin in German – an indication that this is an historic home of Gewurztraminer…) lies in the warm southern part of the region, where figs, lemons and olives thrive.

Hofstätter farms 50 hectares, and is unique in that they have vineyards on both the east and west side of the the Adige River, with very distinct terroir. There are 6 separate estates (Vigna), Barthenau being the location of the family home, and location of some remarkable blocks of old vine Pinot Nero.

It was in 1942 that Hofstätter’s nephew Konrad Oberhofer assumed control of the company, and established the practice of isolating the best vineyards into separate lots. He was first in the region to produce single-vineyard designated wines. Oberhofer’s daughter married Paolo Foradori, bringing additional important vineyards and advanced vineyard-management techniques to the estate.

Paolo Foradori & Sieglinde Oberhofer’s son, Martin Foradori Hofstätter has been responsible for this historic family estate since 1992. Martin’s cousin, Elisabetta Foradori is also an esteemed winemaker, with an estate in nearby Trentino. Clearly, this is an important family, with very deep roots in the region.

The modern cellar was completely refurbished in 2013, with conical concrete fermentation vessels replacing the stainless tanks installed in the 1970s. The stunningly beautiful cellar was designed to handle many small lots of wine from the multitude of vineyards that make up the estate. Traditional grape varieties of the Alto Adige are cultivated, with a focus on Gewürztraminer, Pinot Bianco, Lagrein, Schiava and Pinot Nero. French varietals, including Pinot Noir/Nero and Blanc/Bianco were introduced to the region in the 1850s. Gewurztraminer has been grown here since the 18th century (in spite of the urban legend that it originates here, it came to Traminer from the Rhine). Single-vineyard wines are clearly indicated with the name of the ‘Vigna’, differentiating them from the ‘village’ wines coming from multiple vineyards. The village wines are pure, classic expressions of the traditional varietals (primarily from purchased fruit), while the single-vineyard and Reserve bottlings show the great potential of these historic sites. Simply put, these wines will change perceptions, and their international reputation is well-deserved.

Ian D’Agata wrote in Vinous.com, “Understanding the wines of Alto Adige (also called Süd Tirol by those more Germanically inclined) is easy: there is no region in Italy that makes better red or whites. Yes, Piedmont and Tuscany make a slew of unforgettable red wines, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Campania are home to many world-class whites, and Abruzzo and Puglia make some of the world’s best and most underrated Rosati (Rosé) wines; but no region in Italy makes more high-quality whites and reds than Alto Adige.” Feb 2020.


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