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Winery #55: Kellerei St. Pauls (Alto Adige, Italy)

The decision to focus the six-day wine tour in May on Northern Italy centered around the idea of exploring unique wine-producing regions that do not have the international acclaim of the more famous regions of Italy like Tuscany or Piemonte (Barolo). Our first stop was at Kellerei St. Pauls in Alto Adige, the Italian administrative region also known as Südtirol. When we arrived, we were astounded to find everyone spoke German! I had to double check Google Maps to make sure we were in the right place, Italy… right? :-) Kellerei is German for winery, by the way.

Walter, our host for the wine tasting experience, explained how Alto Adige is a country within a country, and spent time under Austrian rule with close links until the end of World War I. Obviously, the German language stuck. For the winery, St, Pauls is a co-operative that started over 100 years ago with 36 farmers and now boasts over 200 growers as members. There are many forms of co-operatives, but basically growers collectively contribute harvested grapes to produce wines under one company that may have quite a few wine labels. With so many growers representing so many unique wine growing areas or terroirs, St. Pauls can offer a wide range of wines.

During the course of our tasting experience, Walter poured and meticulously explained the production method of twelve wines representative of the St. Pauls line. My favorite wine came from the Alte Reben line (“Old Vines” in German): the 2019 Kalkberg Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). The 50 year-old vines lack the ability to produce a vigorous crop, yet are able to create a white wine with highly concentrated flavors of yellow apple that masterfully integrate with vanilla and toast aromas, evidence of barrel aging. From the handful of years in the bottle, I found a slight tinge on honey and hazelnut indicative of the wine’s age.

Since Brodi saves his calories and doesn’t consume alcohol, Walter graciously offered our boxer puppy a doggie treat. I have yet to collect the tasting notes from Brodi, but from his expressions, he was pleased. One last fun fact about the winery, St. Pauls actually utilizes a World War II bunker to store 70,000 bottles of their sparkling wine! I imagine those are some of the safest bottles in all of Northern Italy.

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 2 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes (Only in the tasting room, pets not allowed in the production facility)

Experience Vibe: Standing Bar Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes, for an in-depth guided tasting. You can stop by to purchase wines and receive samples. St. Pauls also has a pleasant wine bar attached to the shop.

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