These new releases are from the famed Abbazia di Novacella, an Augustinian Cannons Regular monastery located in the Isarco River Valley of Alto Adige. Founded in 1142 by Hartmann, Bishop of Brixen, the Abbey, for centuries was a center of Tyrolean spiritual life, a refuge for pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land and to the Vatican, and a popular wine cellar.
The Abbazia di Novacella has a well- deserved international reputation as a state-of-the art- winery. It produces a wide selection of excellent premium wines from classic local grapes grown in its own mineral rich vineyards in the Isarco River Valley and in the South Tyrol wine-growing region near Bolzano.
The wines reviewed here are of two lines, their basic red wine classics and the Praepositus line which are their top cuveés, sourced from the best fruit from their best vineyard sites. While better known for their classic white wines, the Abbazia de Novacella’s produces red wines such as Lagrein, Pinot Nero (Blauburgunder) and Schiava sourced from the warmer growing areas in the southern Tyrol region. Importer: Abbazia di Novacella and Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY.
Abbazia di Novacella 2012 Lagrein Alto Adige ($20) 87+ The 2012 Lagrein offers aromas and flavors of black cherry with hints of coffee, smoke and vanilla. Dark ruby in color, it is fermented in stainless steel and aged in 60 hl oak casks for approximately 6 months. Flavorful but short on vibrancy. Abbazia di Novacella 2010 Lagrein Riserva Praepositus Alto Adige ($40) 91 The Lagrein Riserva Praepositus displays an opaque ruby color and offers bold and complex aromas of dried red fruit, plum, and loam. It has a soft texture and earthy black cherry fruit with a hint of toasted oak on the palate. Aged in French oak for 20 months, it has soft round tannins and a long finish. A delicious wine that gets better in the glass.
Abbazia di Novacella 2012 Pinot Nero Alto Adige ($24) 89 The Pinot Nero produced from Blauburgunder is light medium ruby in color and has a highly aromatic nose of dried ripe cherry. Fermented in stainless steel, it is delicate and refined on the palate with light red berry flavor intensity, excellent balance, soft tannins and a pleasant finish. Abbazia di Novacella 2010 Pinot Nero Riserva Praepositus Alto Adige ($50) 91 The Pinot Nero Riserva Praepositus offer rich and concentrated dark cherry flavors with notes of spice and earth. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak 18 months, it has a soft texture, round tannins, excellent balance and a long finish. A delicious wine.
Abbazia di Novacella 2012 Schiava Alto Adige ($15) 88+ Schiava is produced from Vernatsch, an indigenous red grape variety of the Alto Adige. Fermented in stainless steel, it produces a light red wine low in tannins with moderate alcohol. This Schiava is typical in style with dried cherry aromas and flavors and crisp acidity on the finish. A pleasant wine which should pair well with pork or chicken.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler November 2013