The area under Kerner vines in South Tyrol is growing at the rate of 2 hectares per year. In the last five years, the grape variety born in Germany from the crossbreeding of Trollinger (“Schiava Grossa” in Italy) and Rhine Riesling, now at home in Südtirol, has succeeded in conquering more and more space in the choices of South Tyrolean producers, driven by the growing appreciation of the Italian and foreign markets.
What rewards Kerner is its essence as a mountain grape variety, capable of embodying the “Alpine spirit” of South Tyrolean wines. The 114.76 hectares of vineyards surveyed in 2021 (they were 104.42 in 2018) are in fact located between 500 and 900 metres above sea level.
«Kerner – comments Andreas Kofler, president of the Alto Adige Wine Consortium – is becoming an increasingly well-known South Tyrolean variety. It reflects our territory and, in particular, the higher altitude areas of South Tyrolean viticulture. I am referring in particular to the Eisack Valley, (Valle Isarco, in italian) as well as vineyards above 700 metres in other South Tyrolean wine-growing areas»
«It is a variety that increasingly captures the attention of winelovers and is therefore planted by our winegrowers, not least because of the advantage of being able to plant Kerner in the highest areas».
«The results – Kofler add – are always optimal: wines with great aromas, beautiful acidity and freshness. Nectars with a not too complicated profile, which is also why consumers like them so much».
Total production now stands at 200 thousand bottles. Of these, 73 per cent remain on national soil (of which 33 per cent in Alto Adige), while 26 per cent are destined for export. Among the main markets are the United States (20%), followed by Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
THE BEST KERNER IN SOUTH TYROL
The Kerner wines of Alto Adige were also confirmed at excellent levels of quality during the winemag.it tasting, which involved 26 labels. There was a great prevalence of producers from the Eisack Valley, the vine’s homeland and the true new frontier of South Tyrolean wines.
The style of the South Tyrolean Kerner wines is rather homogeneous. These are very fragrant white wines with a marked freshness and minerality. White flowers and exotic fruit accompany from nose to finish, making Kerner an excellent alternative wine to Riesling or Gewürztraminer.
The residual sugar present in the vast majority of wines varies from just under 2 g/l to the more canonical 4 g/l. There are very few completely dry Kerners, as well as those with residuals of more than 6-7 grams per litre.
A characteristic, that of the residual sugar, which helps to counterbalance the important acidity, averaging over 6 points (in some cases even 7). Below are the tasting notes of the 26 Kerners tasted by winemag.it.
WINE – VINTAGE – CELLAR – ALCOHOL – AVERAGE PRICE – VINEYARD ALTIDUDE
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner 2021 Tenuta Bessererhof – Otmar Mair (14.50%, 14.50 euro, 810 / 900)
Straw yellow. Elegant nose, on fresh floral and mineral notes. It is precisely the mineral vein that is the driver of the sip, well supported by the perfectly ripe yellow-fleshed fruit. A wine that, also on the palate, confirms its elegance and perspective.
Südtirol Alto Adige Doc Kerner “Puntsheit” 2021 Bolzano Winery (14%, 14 euro, 600 / 800)
Straw yellow. On the nose the typical notes of the variety: yellow, exotic, pulpy fruit, fresh-mineral vein and vegetal hints, between citrus peel and mint. Excellent taste-olfactory correspondence, for a wine that rewards drinkability and agility. The finish is savoury and fresh, inviting one to take the next sip.
Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT “Lahn” 2021 Castelfeder (13.50%, 14.50 euro, 850)
Intense straw yellow, like the nose. Nose and palate among the most aromatic of the range: great fullness of the fruity, exotic notes (distinct melon), well balanced by the freshness and mineral vein. A simple wine that rewards drinkability without sacrificing its suitability for the table.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner 2021 Valle Isarco Winery (14%, 12.50 euro, 650 / 970)
Straw yellow. On the nose the typical profile is divided between fruit and minerality. A wine with a young and forward profile: freshness dominates over fruit and the alcohol is quite dominant on the sip.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner “Aristos” 2020 Valle Isarco Winery (14%, 17.20 euro, 800/ 970)
Straw yellow, greenish reflections. Elegant on the nose, in the swirl of pulpy, aromatic fruit, on minerality. Corresponding sip, on a great expressiveness of the fruit component. The mineral component provides a counterbalance, combined with an acidic shoulder that lends momentum and perspective to the sip.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner “Sabiona” 2019 Valle Isarco Winery (14.5%, 31 euro, 630 / 680)
Straw yellow, greenish reflections. The nose is complex, layered. It opens on generous fruity hints, enveloped by the notes given by the ageing in wood. Apple and peach are distinctly noticeable, pulpy, against a background of marzipan and custard. There is no lack of clear mineral hints, which are even more evident in a palate of perfect correspondence. Savoury, fresh finish. Last word to the beautiful embrace between ripe fruit and tertiary. A unique interpretation of Kerner, which thus proves itself to be a versatile variety, capable of yielding (also) wines with structure, suitable for important food pairings.
Südtiroler Alto Adige Doc Kerner 2021 Tenuta Mayr-Unterganzner (14.5%, 13.50 euro)
Straw yellow, slightly veiled. Intense nose, on exotic fruit, as well as mint and mineral notes. Palate taut, very fresh, fruit, minerality and mint returns. Great drinkability, despite the 14.5% that might be frightening, actually perfectly integrated.
Südtiroler Alto Adige Doc Kerner “Karneid” 2021 Franz Gojer – Glögglhof des Florian Gojer (14%, 13 euro, 600 / 730)
Straw yellow, greenish reflections. On the nose flowers, fruit, mineral profile. Clear elderflower, alongside nectarine. Great character on the palate: freshness and fruit well blended, playing the leading role on the savoury backbone. A wine with excellent prospects of further improvement over time.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner “Gall” 2021 Tenuta Griesserhof (14%, 17 euro)
Screw cap. Straw yellow, vague greenish reflections. The nose is equally divided between herbaceous and fruity memories, composed, teased by citrus notes. Excellent correspondence in a palate of great tension, tending to be dry due to the mineral component, well balanced by the alcohol. A typical, mouth-watering Kerner.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner “Carned” 2021 Kellerei Kaltern (14%, 14.40 euro, 700)
Slightly veiled straw yellow, vague greenish reflections. Nose and mouth in perfect correspondence, greedy: the nose invites, the palate confirms. The fruit dominates, ripe, exotic, without renouncing the typical fresh and mineral impetus. Mentholated, almost balsamic finish. A young wine with perspective.
Südtirol Alto Adige Val Venosta Doc Kerner (Vinschgau) 2021 Kellerei Meran (14%, 15.50 euro, 600)
Straw yellow, greenish reflections. Good layering on the nose, with notes of ripe fruit, elderflower and mint and mineral veins. The palate is articulated on corresponding notes. The mouthfeel tends to be soft, on ripe exotic fruit; progression on freshness and minerality, before a balsamic, rich, one might say powerful finish. A young wine with excellent prospects. Excellent value for money.
Südtirol Alto Adige Doc Kerner “Graf” 2021 Kellerei Meran (14%, 14 euro, 500 / 650)
Straw yellow, greenish reflections. Fruit and green notes on the nose, between orange peel and freshly mown grass, accompanying hints of yellow peach. Taut, fresh and mineral from entry to finish on the palate. A simple wine that makes drinking agility its strong point.
Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT Kerner “Auròna” 2015 Landesweingut Laimburg (14.5%, 22.60 euro, 500)
Fermentation on the pomace for 10 days, ageing for 12 months in tonneaux. This is one of the two “oranges” in the tasting, as well as the wine with the most years on its shoulders. To the eye, “Auròna” is a deep golden yellow. On the nose, there is an important contribution of wood, with clear hints of toffee and barley toast. The fruit is yellow, very ripe. Herbaceous, minty nuances tease the nose, giving it more backbone. Perfect taste-olfactory correspondence. A wine that offers a soft, sinuous sip, with balancing fresh-saline veins that elevate its gastronomic level. A nectar that shows the more “corpulent” face of Kerner.
Südtirol Alto Adige Doc Kerner “Fels” 2021 Nals Margreid (14%, 12.50 euro, 500 / 750)
Straw yellow. Intriguing, “thick” nose with pulpy fruit notes. Combines like few on the panel a fresh-acidic vein and a balancing minerality. It does not excel in layering and complexity on the palate, but the drink is extraordinarily linear and balanced. It closes dry, on mentholated accents already perceived on the nose. An excellent interpretation of the grape variety.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner 2021 Weingut – Tenuta Strasserhof (13.5%, 14.20 euro, 750)
Straw yellow. A Kerner played, both on the nose and palate, on the pleasantness and immediacy of the fruity notes, enriched by a vibrant minerality. A nectar that enhances the typical components of the grape variety, rewarding pleasantness and lightness of sip.
Südtiroler Alto Adige Doc Kerner “Luxs” 2021 Weingut Niklas (13.5%, 11.70 euro, 460 / 510)
Straw yellow, veiled, greenish reflections. One of the deepest and most layered noses on the panel, which is also confirmed on the palate. Notes of citrus fruits, but also of white melon, yellow peach, as well as mint and iodine veins. Savoury extension acting as a backbone to the sip, without renouncing pulpiness. Nice savoury, fresh lengthening that invites the next sip. Very enviable value for money, considering the nectar’s prospects.
Südtiroler Alto Adige Doc Kerner Riserva “Mondevinum Libellula” 2018 Weingut Niklas (14.5%, 18.50 euro. 460 / 550)
A wine that presents itself in the glass in a beautiful deep yellow with golden highlights. On the nose a great concentration of fruit, mainly yellow flesh. Spicy hints bring to mind ginger, as well as white pepper. The green component of citrus peel is important, playing with the richness of the exotic fruit. Dry closing, which entices the next sip. A unique interpretation of Kerner.
Mitterberg IGT Kerner “Without” 2019 Weingut Niklas (15%, 29 euro, 590)
Maceration on the skins for this sulphite-free orange of which only 533 bottles were produced in 2019. Spontaneous fermentation and no filtering before bottling for the grapes picked well ripe. Another Kerner of great concentration with regard to the fruit component, which is enriched with the nuances typical of wines that mature in contact with oxygen, on the skins. Clear orange peel and candied ginger, above all. A homogenous and intriguing picture that is also reflected on the palate, where the generous fruity notes and the important glyceric vein are balanced by a measured tannic compnent. Another unique interpretation of the grape variety.
Südtirol Alto Adige Doc Kerner 2021 Weingut Tauber (13.5%, 15.80 euro, 670 / 780)
Straw yellow. Both on the nose and palate, this is one of the Kerners that plays more on ripe citrus notes, as well as the usual exotic yellow-fleshed fruit of perfect ripeness, savouriness and balsamic, mentholated veins. Agile, rather simple drinking. Savoury, fresh finish.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco Doc Kerner “Praepositus” 2020 Abbazia di Novacella (14%, 16.80 euro)
Straw yellow. Persuasive, creamy yet taut nose, on notes of citrus and mint, on a mineral background. Perfect correspondence on the palate: fresh yet relaxed entry, on a perfect ripeness of yellow-fleshed fruit. The finish is dry, citrusy and savoury. Nimble drinking with a good gastronomic gradient.
Südtirol Alto Adige Valle Isarco DOP Kerner 2021 Ebner (14.5%)
Straw yellow. The nose is elegant, with exotic floral and fruity notes, accompanied by mineral hints. The palate tends to be soft on entry, on the fruit and glyceric thrust. The centre of the mouth is fresh and taut, before closing on generous returns of yellow flesh fruit. Good fresh-savoury lengthening