The Colterenzio Winery and the Pinot Noir project

by Marketing & Advertising 04/10/22
171 |
Cantina Colterenzio Schreckbichl

300 associated winegrowers, 14 varieties of grapes cultivated, environmentally friendly processing. A great quality project dedicated to Pinot Noir.

Founded in 1960, the Colterenzio is one of the youngest winegrowers’ cooperative in Alto Adige. In 1960, 26 winegrowers founded their own winery to be more independent – and named it after the hamlet they came from: Schreckbichl in German, Colterenzio in Italian. These winegrowers can be considered rebels but at the same time pioneers for right after the foundation of their own winery they were setting the course towards quality.

It was in the 1980’s, when Luis Raifer, winegrower and, at this time, director and president of Colterenzio Winery, came back from a study trip in California with many, new ideas. He recognized the enormous potential of Alto Adige to produce high quality wines. The terroir was favorable, enough vineyards surface was available, and the winegrowers were hard-working people. At first, he replaced the Schiava vines with Cabernet Sauvignon-vines in his vineyard “Lafóa”, located on the top of Cornaiano, in a ventilated venue, blessed by the sun, not far from Colterenzio’s headquarter. Secondly, a few years later, he also planted Sauvignon. At the same time, he started to fight for new quality standards being recognized in Alto Adige: less production per hectare, healthy and high-quality, -concentrated grapes for a great value wine. Today, five wines make part of the Lafóa range: the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Sauvignon, the Gewürztraminer, the Chardonnay and, since last year, the Pinot Nero.

Special wines need time, sometimes even a decade. That's how long Colterenzio has been working on the "Pinot Nero" project. “When Colterenzio began the project, 10 years ago, we followed the same premises as for the other Lafóas before. We had only one goal in mind: analyze the grape-variety to the smallest detail in order to continuously improve the quality of our best Pinot Neros," says winemaker Martin Lemayr. All began with the selection of the vineyards. Six vineyards were identified as the best Pinot Nero vineyards. They are located in Ora and in Cornaiano. Lemayr explains, "We decided to use the special characteristics of each vineyard to achieve something great.”.

What is special about the new Pinot Nero Lafóa? "First and foremost, it is a very characterful wine," says Lemayr. This is mainly because of the unique combinations of two different sites and their soil composition. The Pinot Nero Lafóa has a style, very similar to the complexed Pinot Noirs from Burgundy in France. Alex Ferrigato, sales director of Colterenzio, is very happy about the new Pinot Nero: "This wine absolutely deserves to be included in our top line. When we drink old vintages of Lafóa wines today, we are always pleased and very proud of the work done. They are all very expressive and complex wines with a big longevity. That is because Colterenzio has always believed in the long life of its wines, and even this time, with the new Pinot Nero will not get it wrong." Lemayr agrees with these statements and adds, "In my opinion, a wine does not have to be pleasing at all costs and for all palates. A great wine can have rough edges, showing where it comes from and a strong in character, and definitely be a great wine. This is exactly what our new Pinot Nero Lafóa is, and I am convinced that this wine has a long way to go."

All the five Lafóa-wines are dressed with a very special label. It was designed by the art-design studio Guardenti of Lucca, in early 1990s. The central part of the label depicts a real bronze sculpture-column by the painter and sculptor Guido Anton Muss, at the entrance of Luis Raifer’s farmhouse, representing the “spirit” of the farmstead’s guardian. It represents the natural forces which govern the growth of plants: humus and earthly forces convey in the central part of the column to open up to the sun.

The background is inspired by Art Nouveau, an artistic movement that flourished between 1890 and 1910 throughout Europe and the US and depicts the importance of the “natural elements” for the creation of Lafóa wines. In this time, in fact, the artists were inspired by the natural forms, resembling the stems and blossoms of plants, and so was also Klimt, one of the most well-known names of this art style.

Today, 300 winegrowers together with the people working at Colterenzio continued this “quality path”, which started in the late 1980’s. The winegrowers grow their grapes on a total of 300 hectares; the vineyards are located in one of the best wine growing areas of Alto Adige, on altitudes from 230 to 690 meters. 14 different varieties are cultivated. 35% of the wines at Colterenzio are red, 65% are white. Colterenzio cares about the environment, not only in the vineyards, but also in the cellar. In the vineyard this means sustainable viticulture and handpicked grapes. In the winery itself most of the electric energy used in the winery is supplied by a photovoltaic installation, 100% of the electric power is certified green and 70% of hot water requirements is provided by solar panels and a heat recovery system.

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