One of Italy’s most special regions that I have come to love after spending years exploring every corner is the one with the hardest names to remember and pronounce. Alto-Adige, Teroldego, and Lagrein, these are just a few of the names of the province, wine appellation and varietals the region boasts, but I think the sooner one gets familiar with them, the more delightful your knowledge of Italy and wine will be.
Very often the rooftop of Italy, (Its NE corner, called the Dolomites) is known for its scenery but gets lost on itineraries because most people visit nearby Venice or seek the even higher French and Swiss Alps just a few hours away. The reality is this area is a hidden gem with breathtaking views, charming towns, glacial lakes and mythical rock formations.
The wines of Trentino Alto Adige are unique in that they grow at such high elevations and have the smooth silkiness of pinot noir. The cool climate wines often have a bulkiness and acidity that allows them to pair well with food and certainly that has been our most memorable enjoyments of the Lagrein and Teroldego varietals. Often the wine is blended, of a deep purple hue and have terrific tannins. Most of the wines are very affordable $25 USD and under and they drink as well as $50 Napa Cabernets.
If you really consider yourself a naturalist and a hiker, this territory will not disappoint for panorama and challenge. One of the best, (without a technical equipment requirement) is Lago di Sorapiss. It is a spellbinding lake with electric blue to turquoise water that is a beautiful reward after a long uphill trek.
The Most iconic panorama is the Tre Cime di Lavoredo site. The three peaks which you look like an alien landscape and are a fitting reward after an hour’s hike. If you want more of a challenge there are many other trails that intersect at these mountaintops to go higher and further, just be aware of time and tools needed.
The good life in the Italian Dolomites and the wine and food culture of Trentino Alto-Adige is one of the best kept secrets away from the crowds. It is the hideaway for foodies, athletes, purveyors of delicious wine and epicurean experiences.