The Summer of Schiava Wine Tasting

I recently participated in a digital tasting of four Alto Adige Schiava over Zoom. Presenting on location from their perspective wineries in the Alto Adige Region of Italy each speaker delivered a tempting description of their wine and an in-depth account of several aspects of how the wine was produced. The wines I tasted were a 2020 Rottensteiner Kalterer See Auslese Lago di Caldaro D.O.C., 2019 Markus Prackwieser Gump Hof Vernatsch (Vernatsch is German for Schiava) Alto Adige D.O.C., 2020 Cantina Kurtatsch Sonnntaler Vernatsch Alte Reben Südtirol D.O.C., 2018 Cantina Bolzano MOAR St. Magdalena Alto Adige D.O.C.. When you see the town’s name in the winery’s name, as in Cantina Balzano or Cantina Kurtatsch it indicates that the wine was made by a “Cooperative”.

Schiava is a very light red wine, even lighter than Pinot Noir. It is a radiant ruby red in color with aromas of crisp fresh cherries, violets, and raspberries. Vibrant flavors of cherries and burnt almonds are prominent on the palate complemented by mild acidity. These are delicate wines best served young but some do have aging potential. Schiava has the reputation of being approachable, very easy to drink, and pairs well with about any food. This makes it the perfect light wine for any outdoor summer gathering and for many it’s the preferred wine to drink with pizza. Schiava has a chameleon-like ability to adapt to any dining situation. 

The character of Schiava is terroir-driven due to the varied local topography and microclimates of the Alto Adige Region. Abrupt diurnal temperature changes add complexity while the winds that blow up the valleys of the region provide a drying effect that keeps the pergola trellis-grown vines free of fungus, molds, and disease. When you factor in the various soil structures ranging from volcanic to sedimentary it’s no surprise that Alto Adige produces a wide variety of wines each with its own unique personality.

If you haven’t tried Schiava I urge you to be adventurous and buy a bottle to enjoy with friends. You will be amazed by what this light red wine has to offer. 

2 thoughts on “The Summer of Schiava Wine Tasting

    1. Thanks for the great comment Jerry! We live in Pennsylvania so the only one available at the P. L. C. B. store is a Elena Walch Schiava. I interviewed Karoline Walch and reviewed a 2019 Schiava from this winery on this blog. It was similar to these Schiavas. If you or anyone are interested in where you can purchase these wines in the U.S. please contact Morgan Perry at She will be happy to help you.


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