In the year 1923, Cantina Girlan, named after the South Tyrolean town, was founded by 23 winegrowers in a 16th-century farmstead in Alto Adige (South Tyrol). In the year 2019, exactly 96 years later, the number of member winegrowers of the cooperative has multiplied to 200 and the area of cultivation has grown to 215 hectares in the best growing zones of Oltradige and Bassa Atesina in Alto Adige, Italy.
The town of Girlan (or Cornaiano in Italian), with an altitude of 250 to 550 meters above sea level, has always been considered as an excellent wine growing area for its variation of soil types which are ideal for growing native and international grape varieties. This fact was even documented in the historical documents dating back to 1085 A.D.Being a cooperative, Cantina Girlan is represented by a Chairman Committee, which is headed by their president, Helmut Meraner who acts in the members’ interests after being voted by all winegrower members. Throughout the growing season, all vineyards of the winegrowers are closely monitored by Gerhard Kofler, the oenologist, to ensure the production of the highest quality of wines. Harvesting is done entirely by hand, following a precise harvest calendar and processed according to the variety.
Girlan produces three distinct lines of wine: Selezioni, Vigneti and Classici.
The Selezioni line is comprised of the flagship wines of Girlan. They are sourced from the best vineyards in the Oltradige and Bassa Atesina and have met the strict quality control standards. The Vigneti line instead represents the wines made from the high quality grapes sourced from the best vineyards. After years of experience, the best vineyards fit for each kind of variety are identified and these grapes are the ones used for this selected line which show distinctive and fruity notes. The Classici range is composed of the wines that represent the core of the production. The typical varietal characteristics are distinctive to this range which permits easiness to drink.
On the 28th day of January 2019, Cantina Girlan brought nine of its wines to Ristorante Al Ceppo in Rome for a private tasting.
The wine tasting was guided by Sommelier Luca Gardini which was initialized with a blind tasting of three kinds of Pinot Noir from different production zones in France and the newest production of the winery, Pinot Noir Riserva Vigna Ganger 2015. The second part was the tasting of 8 other white and red wines paired with the dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurant. Below are my tasting notes.Flora Pinot Bianco Riserva 2016. The handpicked grapes are picked from mostly from the vineyards located in Cornaiano and the remainder from Appiano Monte at an altitude of 450 to 500 meters a.s.l. The wine was aged in large oak barrels for 12 months and another 6 months in stainless steel. The result is an equilibrated wine with complexities of varietal and secondary aromas of white flowers and fresh white pulp fruit going towards mature yellow fruit. Acidity is prominent in the mouth, young and promises to be even better over time.
Flora Cuvèe Bianco Riserva 2016. A blend of handpicked Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay coming from 10 to 15 year-old vines cultivated in the best hillside vineyards of Cornaiano at an altitude of 450 – 500 meters a.s.l. where the terrain is rich in minerals from the ice age sedimentation. While Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc are fermented in stainless steel, the Chardonnay was fermented in large oak barrels where they attained malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees for 12 months giving it complexities then another 12 months of aging in the bottle after blending of all three wines. This straw yellow wine conveys harmony in all three aspects of the wine analyses very good acidity, moderate sapidity and long persistence in the palate. The aromas and flavors that it delivers are rich and delicate at the same time with mature exotic fruits, herbs and flowers which fill up the palate with vibrant flavors. This is an excellent wine to be enjoyed now until a few more years in the cellar.Flora Chardonnay 2016. Handpicked Chardonnay coming from 10 to 15 year-old vines cultivated in the best hillside vineyards of Cornaiano at an altitude of 450 – 500 meters a.s.l. where the terrain is rich in minerals from the ice age sedimentation. Fermented in large oak barrels where they attained malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees for 12 months giving it complexities then another 6 months of in the bottle. Elegant and persistent in the mouth with delicate conveyance of mature yellow stone fruits and exotic fruits that give space to for the fresher varietal characteristics to come out.Flora Sauvignon 2017. Handpicked Sauvignon grapes from the hillside vineyards of Cornaiano, Monticolo and Appiano Monte at an altitude of 500 meters a.s.l. with a variety of soils that give the wine a unique character. Aged on the lees for 8 months in stainless steel and large oak barrels. The result has an intense nose of white flowers and white pulp fruits typical of the variety dominated with tomato leaves. Freshness in the mouth given by the acidity, moderate sapidity and long finish.Flora Gewurztraminer 2017. Handpicked Gewurztraminer grapes gathered from the hillside vineyards of Cornaiano at an altitude of 450 – 500 meters a.s.l. while the rest come from Cortaccia. Aged on the lees for 8 months in stainless steel tanks. The aromatic wine has intense aromas of lychees and passion fruit with nuances of rose petals. Full in the palate with flavors and gives a long finish. Good acidity which balances the richness of the strong fruity flavors in the mouth.Gschleier Alte Reben Vernatsch 2016. Handpicked Vernatsch (or Schiava) red grapes from 80 to 110 year-old vines cultivated in Gschleier, one of the best winegrowing areas of Alto Adige at an altitude of 450 meters a.s.l. Long maceration then aged in large oak barrels for 9 months and 6 months in the bottle. This limpid ruby red wine gives aromas of red stone fruits and red berries with medium body. Delicate tannins and moderate acidity. An easy to drink red that displays youth and freshness.
Patricia Pinot Noir 2016. The handpicked Pinot Noir grapes were harvested from the hillside vineyards of Oltradige at an altitude of 450 to 500 meters a.s.l. while the rest come from the vineyards in Mazon and Montagna in Bassa Atesina. Aged for 15 months partly in large oak barrels and partly in oak barrique then another 6 months in the bottle. Ruby red with excellent structure and equilibrated offering aromas and flavors of red fruits like raspberries, cherries, spices, and pepper. Full-bodied, round and persistent in the mouth. A great wine to drink now and in a few more years.
Trattman Pinot Noir Riserva 2016. The handpicked Pinot Noir grapes were harvested mostly from the vineyards in Mazzon with clayey and calcareous soils while the remaining grapes come from Cornaiano. Aged for 12 months partly in large oak barrels and partly in oak barrique then 6 more months in large oak barrels and another 8 months in the bottle. This limpid ruby red wine divulges an intense and complex bouquet of aromas of mature dark stone fruits, plums, black cherries, spices and nuts. Full-bodied and rich in the palate as well as perceptible tannins and acidity with a long finish. Already interesting and still promises to give more in the succeeding years.Vigna Ganger Pinot Noir Riserva 2015. From 2008, after years of thorough research, Cantina Girlan finally found the site that is ideally suited for the production of the Pinot Noir, the Ganger monopole. Its location is in Mazzon at an altitude of 360 to 380 meters a.s.l. with a unique microclimate and deep calcareous clayey soils. The grapes reached full maturity before being handpicked then partly whole-cluster fermented then aged in barrique for 20 months and another 18 months in the bottle. The resulting ruby red wine gives ample complex aromas of mature dark stone fruits, black cherries, berries, almonds, balsamic, toasted, and spices, with vigor on the tertiary characteristics. Full-bodied and well-structured, chewy, moderate tannins, good acidity and persistent in the mouth. Displays excellence now and can be more in the succeeding years.
Served during dinner were appetizers of Pounded Shrimp with Mayonnaise, and Salted Cod Vincentina. The pasta served was Cacio e Pepe Ravioli with Zucchini, while the main courses were Crispy Veal Sweetbread, as well as Lamb, Potatoes and Jewish-Style Artichoke. The dessert was Vanilla Soup with Persimmon Sorbet and Cocoa Crumble.