Located in Feldthurns, with a panoramic view of the entire Valle Isarco (Eisack Valley), lies the vineyards of Garlider. The Kerschbaurmer family owns 4 hectares of vineyards here, on a sunny mountain slope, and produces several wonderful whites as well as a few excellent reds.
This is the northernmost wine region in Italy, located on the Austrian border. Traditionally, this region chiefly produced reds (80%) such as Portugieser, Zweigelt, Lagrein, and Schiava. Many younger winemakers have set up shop here, with a focus on innovation and production of high quality wines. Fresh, cool nights, warmer days and good breezes give these white wines a fruity, subtle aroma, an elegant dryness and attractive mineral palate. Today the ratio is reversed, with 80% of the production white wines, predominately Muller Thurgau and Sylvaner, along with Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, Kerner and Pinot Grigio.
Christian Kerschbaumer currently cultivates his parent’s winery, Garlider. Kerschbaumers philosophy is to play with the wines as little as possible during the winemaking process, maintaining the character of the vines, and allowing one to taste the grapes and the terroir. He uses organic cultivation techniques and prefers the use of indigenous yeast in his wine cellar. The Garlider Gruner Veltliner has received many awards, from Gambero Roso, Guida ai Migliori Vini d’Italia, and Le Guide de L’espresso.
Garlider produces some red wines as well, a Blauburgunder (Pinot Noir), and the Garlider Klausner Laitacher. I recently tasted the latter, the Garlider Klausner Laitacher 2007. The Klausner Laitacher name refers to the only red wine covered by the Valle Isarco DOC designation, and refers to a blend of the local indigenous reds, Schiava/Vernatsch and Lagrein. The Garlider Klausner is comprised mostly of Schiava with a touch of Lagrein. It is a brilliant garnet red, with a dark fruit aroma. A bit bitter, with mineral components, with hints of red berries and tart cherry, it has a nice acidity. It is an excellent foil to any dish with speck or prosciutto, or a meat ragu over gnocchi.