It’s intriguing – one of Italy’s many, many quirks and contradictions – that the majority of Germans from this northern part of Alto Adige – the Südtirol – seem so content to be…well, Italians? The signposts to Erste & Neue are a mix of German and Italian (often in brackets), otherwise you’d just better know already that they are located in Kaltern (Caldaro) a beautiful little town 25mins due south/west of Bolzano. But it’s worth it to visit this wonderful collective, a description more appropriate perhaps, than co-operative.
The ‘Old & New’ is the result of a merger in 1986 of one group founded in 1900 with the ‘newies ‘ a crew merely dating back to 1926. Between them, their members brought together a wonderful collection of heritage, expertise and vineyards, of such variety, siting and quality. There’s an array of soil types in this glacial valley ranging in altitude from 250m to 650m – moraine, loam, calc, clay, you name it – and each provides the best backdrop to the Alto Adige classics – their speciality, the Pinots Bianco (which E+ N of course call Weissburgunder) and Grigio. The reds are benchmark versions, from the delicious light and fruity Schiava to the dense, blue-purple and powerful Lagrein.