Valle Isarco lies at a point in northernmost Italy where glaciers meet the gentle rolling hills of the Mediterranean. It’s a region, within Italy’s Alto-Adige, characterised by a wine tradition that spand back to 500BC. But while its wine tradition may be historic, it also defined by the personality of its contemporary growers who, thanks to a wide variety in soils, in cultivation areas and sunlight exposures – as well as in the microclimates of specific vineyards, allow each vineyard to develop and thrive within its own character. Steep terraced vineyards call for year-round dedication and can, in many cases, require solely hand tending, so it’s no wonder the spirit of each family of winemakers is so at one with its vineyard.

Founded by 24 growers in 1961, Cantina Valle Isarco winery is one of the youngest cooperatives, but with both youth and resilience on its side it’s swiftly built a reputation for producing wines of regional distinction. Following two devastating destructions of the winery, the Cantina was built anew 1975, facilitating the production of wine from grapes harvested by 135 members across vineyards ranging from 300-950m altitude. The wisdom of these growers defines Cantina Valle Isarco – a producer of beautiful wines, yes, but one whose primary aim is to cultivate high-quality grapes through ecologically sustainable methods.

White wines contribute 95% of the winery’s offering – little surprise given the conditions. Dry, sunny ripening periods, high altitudes that maintain cool temperatures and mineral-rich soils provide ideal conditions for producing expressive, aromatic whites. The Cantina call their range ‘Mountain Wines’ – perfect for wines that have you gasping for mountain air.

Cantina Valle Isarco’s Kerner uses grapes that produce full-bodied wines packed with flavour – think lime-jelly – and a lively acidity that offers great value, much like all their entry level wines. Meanwhile the Cantina Valle Isarco Sylvaner Aristos (‘Aristos’ denoting their premium range) uses top quality grapes from across the valley, contributing a flawless focus, depth and elegance to this textbook Sylvaner: dancing apple flavours, citrus, nectarine and berries speckled with notes of acacia and nutmeg come together with mineral notes and acidity – rich, fresh and energetic, its evidence that the hills are most certainly alive.

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