Not heard of Cantina Kurtatsch? Neither had Luisa, until they came to London – and that’s when a new world of wine opened up to her tastebuds….

Located within some of the Italian most striking vineyard sites, Cantina Kurtatsch is one of Alto Adige’s oldest and smallest cooperative wineries in North East Italy. They also happen to be one of the best wine producers in the Trentino region. And they are sold right here, in the heart of London.  No, I didn’t know either. 

So when they came to London to present their wines, I could not miss the chance to meet them and taste the range. 

This cooperative winery takes its name from the beautiful village of Kurtatsch where the vines are grown up to 900 metres in a spectacular landscape. The terrain is steep and dramatic, with a diverse range of soils, geology and microclimates.

Founded in 1900, today the cooperative looks after 190 hectares of vines, working with 190 growers who, together, produce what can only be described as ‘elegant mountain wines’.  The modern winery is sustainability-focused, and its small scale structure guarantees the craftmanship which sets these wines apart.

They grow a variety of grapes, some indigenous, like Moscato Giallo, Kerner, Schiava and Lagrein; some international, like Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Pinot Moir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. 

The wines are bottled under two main labels: Freienfeld, with grapes like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon coming from the best and oldest vineyards; this label crowns the highest quality wines, only bottled in the very best years.  And Terroir, which expresses the viticultural art of Kurtatsch at its best. The wines are made from grapes grown in the most promising vineyard, with low yield and unique zonal character, most bearing the name of their place of origin. 

The Chardonnay Riserva 2019 DOC Freienfeld was a full bodied white, very deep yellow in colour due to the time spent in barrel, smooth on the palate and with a long finish. Ideal with food. 

I found the Gewurztraminer Riserva 2020 DOC Brennal, made with grapes grown at just 300 metres, quite extraordinary. Full golden colour, lots of acacia flowers on the nose, an aromatic complexity all of its own and almost unctuous on the palate, but perfectly balanced by the acidity. 

What followed was an exceptional selection of Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva DOC Freienfeld, from the 1997, 2006, 2016 and 2018 vintages. There was only one bottle of the 1997 vintage left in the whole winery, and they brought it to London to be tasted!  All wines were intensely fruity, pure and precise, velvety on the palate and with a long finish. 

The Merlot Riserva DOC Brenntal was also shown in its 1997, 2003, 2012 and 2019 vintages, with the 2019 possibly being the best one ever made – lovely fresh tannin from the best parcel of Merlot that Cantina Kurtatsch have. 

There is a new definition for these wines: ‘Alpine Bordeaux Style’ as they show many similarities with the wines of Bordeaux, using the same grapes, but grown at an incredible altitude and on different soil. 

Want to taste some of these wines? You will find a good selection at Haynes Hanson & Clark in London SW3 with prices at around £15 per bottle