When it’s time for a getaway, oceans, lakes, and rivers beckon us with their promise of fun and relaxation. But these large bodies of water are more than just memorable vacation destinations; they hold the key to some of Italy’s most intriguing and refreshing white wines.
Kettmeir and Lake Caldaro Alto Adige are known for their mountainous landscape and almost year-round sunshine, but Lake Caldaro is one of the most important geographical features when it comes to producing Kettmeir’s lively and aromatic wines. Pinot Grigio, with its juicy pear and apple flavors; Pinot Bianco, an elegant white with notes of florals and green apple; and Müller Thurgau, a standout with its complex stone fruit and citrus characters, can all thank this body of water and the Alpine terroir for their unique qualities. During the day, cooling breezes from the lake sweep through the vineyards and temper the heat from the sun, allowing grapes to slowly and fully develop their aromas and flavors. Come nighttime, temperatures plunge dramatically, but these large diurnal shifts are welcome during the growing season, as these colder moments are responsible for maintaining the bright acidity Kettmeir wines are known for. In the winter, Lake Caldaro again exerts its positive influence on the region as those same winds now keep dormant vines safe from damage due to freezing temperatures.
Because of Alto Adige’s unique and hospitable climate, animals, birds, and other wildlife—including many species native to the region—thrive. As an homage to a particular breed of hawks that make their home around Lake Caldaro, Kettmeir’s new labels feature this majestic soaring beauty. The hawks’ symbiosis with nature embodies how Kettmeir sees its role in the region: stewards of the land and respectful of all beings with which it coexists.
As the largest bathing lake in the Alps, Lake Caldaro is an ideal escape from the everyday. Spend the day swimming, surfing, or sailing in its warm waters, then visit the region’s numerous wineries, such as Kettmeir, on the Lake Caldaro Wine Trail.
Cà Maiol and Lake Garda After spending time in Alto Adige, travel to Lugana at the southern end of Lake Garda, and a new wine experience awaits you. Grapes enjoy the sun’s ripening effects early in the day, thanks to the area’s warm and sunny climate. Later in the afternoon, cooling winds from the large body of water lead to colder nighttime temperatures. These vital hours allow vines to rest and recharge, and for acidity to develop. It’s an ideal growing environment for wines with complexity and enticing fruit flavors and aromas. And it’s here that Cà Maiol calls home.
Cà Maiol’s signature white wine, ‘Lugana Maiolo,’ is made from 100 percent Turbiana grapes, commonly known as ‘Verdicchio.’ But in the Lugana region, it’s also given the moniker ‘Trebbiano di Lugana’ for the way it expresses itself in the area’s terroir. Citrus, apple, and pear notes dominate on the nose and the palate, and an elegant weightiness is lifted by lively acidity.
The hotter months are ideal for exploring the charming towns surrounding the lake. Next to the Cà Maiol winery lies the perfect town of Sirmione, where lush floral trellises climb the walls of old buildings. Enjoy a walk or boat tour by the medieval Castle that stands ready for visitors to marvel at its historic beauty. And, of course, end your day taking in the sunset with a glass of Cà Maiol Lugana Maiolo in your hand.
Torresella and Venice’s Rivers, Sea, and Lagoon With proximity to rivers, the sea—and even a lagoon—water plays a significant role in the wines from Torresella. The estate is located between the Dolomite mountains and the Venetian lagoon, a designated UNESCO Heritage Site, in an area called Fossalta di Portogruaro. Ancient Romans and The Republic of Venice cultivated vines in this area over a thousand years ago, and today, Torresella continues the long tradition.
The Tagilamento Rivers and the Livenza Rivers not only serve as a border, but they leave mineral-rich deposits in the vineyard’s lands. Meanwhile, winds coming from the Adriatic Sea provide a cooling effect during the hot summer months. The assembly of these aquatic influences can be tasted in the luscious Torresella Prosecco. Filled with the smells and flavors of peach and apricot, with fine, mousse bubbles, it’s an awesome match with bites, such as hummus or cured meats. Or to finish a meal on a light note, pair Torresella Prosecco and dessert.
While Venice is a popular tourist spot, the area around the Torresella estate offers another side to Venice. Here, watery marshlands, with their own special biosphere, stretch before you. Wild grasses wave in the wind while migrating birds such as herons and egrets fly overhead. Torresella pays homage to the latter, known as ‘garzetta’ in Italian, by putting the bird’s silhouette on its labels.
Water is such an important commodity at Torresella, that the estate is wholly committed to working sustainably and preserving this valuable asset, as well as the area’s agricultural heritage. They eschew the use of herbicides in the vineyards as the groundwater used is the same source of drinking water for the local community. Even in the winery, all water used throughout the winemaking process is repurposed to clean floors and equipment.
You can research the influence of water on these delectable Italian white wines for yourself at any bottle shop.