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2015 Alto Adige Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon “Iugum”

Peter Dipoli
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If you read much wine journalism nowadays, you will be bombarded with so-called experts telling you what’s hot, what’s up-and-coming, what’s no longer cool, which producers are has-beens, and which novel grapes are absolutely worthy of your paycheck. While such professional advice certainly has its merits and may lead you to new discoveries, the wine hipness-o-meter has its flaws, too: all it takes is a flashback to the eighties to see that some trends do more harm than good (anybody not named MC Hammer should lay off the Hammer pants). All this noise can overcomplicate your drinking decisions, and you could miss out on gems like this unusual Bordeaux blend from a precipitous, high-altitude limestone site in the heart of the Dolomites. Its tender, rich, dark fruit is perfectly framed by Germanic restraint and chewy Napa Mountain–style tannins. Where that puts it on the coolness scale I can’t say, but it is hard to go wrong with this combination of stunning terroir, noble grapes, and masterful vinification.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Alto Adige
Country: Italy
Region: Alto Adige
Producer: Peter Dipoli
Winemaker: Peter Dipoli
Vineyard: Planted in 1992, 1.1 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Aging: Wine ages in bottle until 4 years after harvest
Farming: Sustainable
Alcohol: 14.5%

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About The Region

Alto Adige

map of Alto Adige

In the heart of the Dolomites, Alto Adige is Italy’s northernmost wine region. Having changed hands multiples times in its history between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (it shares a border with Austria), it boasts strong Germanic influence on its culture, language, cuisine, as well as its wines.

The mountainous geography is the principal determinant of local winemaking styles, with the high-altitude vineyards and cool Alpine climate favoring primarily crisp, racy, aromatic whites from varieties like Kerner, Sauvignon, Müller Thurgau, and Grüner Veltliner. A Mediterranean influence on climate is channeled north up the valley until Bolzano, permitting the cultivation of certain reds as well, among which Schiava, Lagrein, Pinot Nero, and Merlot fare best.

Small growers who once sold fruit to the area’s multiple co-ops are now increasingly bottling their own wines. The arrival of many quality-oriented artisans on the scene caught our eye years ago, and we now count three estates from Südtirol, as it is also known, in our portfolio. These high-acid mountain wines make for a beautifully invigorating aperitivo with thinly sliced speck, a local specialty.

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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174

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