Kellerei Terlan is one of those huge names, mentioned right at the beginning of various wine publications in the context of Alto Adige. Two specific wines most often appear – “Vorberg” a Pinot Bianco, and “Quartz” a Sauvignon Blanc. Let’s start with the region itself. Despite many different influences, Alto Adige, this beautiful Alpine region, border changes, various monarchies, and republics that usurped the area remained true to its local traditions. Despite this, it has unfortunately failed to maintain most of its local, indigenous tribes. Although Kellerei Terlan has a few such wines in their portfolio, let’s face it – these are not the most significant points of this winery’s program. Like the vast majority in Alto Adige, they are orientated on international varietals introduced in the region by the Habsburgs. The young generation of winemakers, which is slowly taking over the family business, is investing more and more in the revitalization of the local strains… but this is a topic for a separate text and maybe even a research paper for the DipWSET.
Kellerei Terlan, it is one of the oldest still existing wineries in the region. In fact, it is a wine cooperative operating since 1893, producing about one and a half million bottles each year. They are known for their outstanding quality wines, the so-called Stocker’s Rarities, and naturally for their alpine take on Sauvignon Blanc, in the form of the wine “Quarz“.
It took me a long time to get to this bottle. It’s not something you get every day. The vines for this Sauvignon Blanc grow at an altitude of 300 – 550 m, in the southern aspect of Tschögglberg. The Alpine substrate, in this case, is subvolcanic quartz (porphyry), one can expect corresponding rocky mineral aromas (flint, stones) and proper acidity. Of course, the grapes are harvested by hand, slowly fermented at a controlled temperature, and aged for 9 months on the lees – 50% in steel, 50% in barrels, blended 3 months prior bottling. In my bottle, there is a 2014 vintage, which was not one of the easiest. A mild winter and a stormy summer made the harvest not as usual in the region.
The wine presents a slightly balsamic, complex nose, straight away after opening. The herbal notes are playing the first role here, as well as those resulting from sitting a couple of years in a bottle – hay, some ginger, nutmeg, but also a typical light cheese or bread dough aroma. Oily texture. On the palate, the wine displays equal complexity, confirming the nose, there are also the previously mentioned stony and mineral aromas – the aroma of flint. Also, slightly grassy with clear notes reminding of lemongrass. 13,5% ABV.
The 2014 “Quarz” is truly a beautiful, very complex, exquisite wine. Fantastic alpine take of terror and Sauvignon Blanc, a pleasantly unusual one. Price per bottle in Germany (online) is around 40 – 45 €, and worth every cent.