Have you ever tasted St. Magdalena wine?
It’s one of the two flagship wines from Bolzano Bozen.
The wine growing area of Bolzano Bozen covers 12% of the vineyards in the Alto Adige/Südtirol region. The wine production is 63% red and 37% white. The main grape varieties are Schiava (Vernatsch), Lagrein, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Blanc.
St. Magdalena is one of the most important red wines from Alto Adige/Südtirol. So much that there is a specific event held every two years for this wine. It’s the St. Magdalener Culinarium.
This year it took place on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September. Two days to taste all the different shades of this great red wine.
Now, I’d like to tell you all about the main characteristics of St. Magdalena wine and how cool St. Magdalener Culinarium was. So you can take part in next year’s event.
Are you ready?
St. Magdalena wine
The history of the St. Magdalena denomination is quite recent although wine production in the Bolzano Bozen area is very ancient.
During the Middle Ages, the wine from Bolzano Bozen was called “Bozner”. At the end of the Middle Ages, “Leitacher” (Costa) was considered the best wine from Bolzano Bozen. It was a white wine. Wine production in favour of red grape varieties came about during the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1923, the wine growers from St. Magdalena founded the Consortium for the Protection of St. Magdalena.
Initially, the wine production area was only St. Magdalena hill. Then, there was an expansion to Santa Giustina, Costa, San Pietro, San Genesio, and Settequerce, due to market pressure.
St. Magdalena obtained DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) appellation in 1971.
The area under vines has changed a lot – from 470 ha in 1983 to 200 ha in 2013 (4% of the vineyards in Alto Adige/Südtirol).
St. Magdalena wine is made from at least 85% Schiava and a maximum of 15% of red grape varieties grown in the Bolzano area (usually Lagrein).
The vineyards are located between 250 m and 500 m above sea level. Pergola is the main training system. The soil is characterised by morainic clay deposits (on the highest part), and sand and gravel (on the slopes).
Dry and hot summers play an important role in the maturation of the grapes.
The additional designation “Classico” (Klassisch) can be added to the label if the wine comes from the zones of St. Magdalena, Santa Giustina, Rencio, Leitach, or San Pietro. It’s a triangular area between Talvera creek, the Isarco river and Tondo mountain.
Usually, St. Magdalena wine has a deep ruby colour. On the nose, you can immediately recognise the aromas of violet, cherry, raspberry, and a hint of almond. It’s a full body wine with the right balance between tannins and acidity.
The best food pairing with St. Magdalena wine is with traditional courses from Alto Adige/Südtirol, such as speck, canederli, soups, and roasts.
16°C is the right temperature to experience this wine. If you’d like to taste St. Magdalena wine during the summer, chill the bottle a little and it will be perfect.
St. Magdalener Culinarium
It’s the event of excellence for St. Magdalena wine. St. Magdalener Culinarium offers a unique experience from the start. This edition was promoted by the Bolzano Bozen Tourist Board.
Friday 11 September
It began in the vineyard close to St. Magdalena church. Imagine being surrounded by old pergola vines, admiring the Dolomites while you’re drinking good St. Magdalena wine and eating some local speck, salami and cheese. All accompanied by music from Tracy Merano.
That was just the aperitif and the atmosphere was indeed magical.
Then, making a transfer, you could take part in a gastronomic journey by chef Alessandro Micucci at the restaurant of the Hotel Magdalener Hof. You could experience 30 St. Magdalena wines combined with traditional courses. The producers took part in the dinner, so you had the opportunity to discover the secrets of their wines.
Saturday 12 September
On Saturday 12, St. Magdalener Culinarium went live.
The morning was dedicated to discovering the Schiava and Lagrein vineyards with Leopold Larcher (Sommelier Brand Ambassador of St. Magdalena). In this case, we were at Pfannenstielhof. From the winery, you can admire the St. Magdalena and Santa Giustina hills.
A delicious lunch followed at FreiRaum Mumi and then it was back to Hotel Magdalener Hof for a tasting area, speed tasting, and a masterclass.
The tasting area was with the producers. Many of them also had an old vintage of St. Magdalena wine (up to 30 years old). The ageing potential of this wine is very good. It’s not only a wine to drink young. Bottle ageing gives a pleasant complexity to the wine.
Speed tasting with Federica Randazzo (St. Magdalena Ambassador and coordinator for Slow Wine Alto Adige) was very entertaining. It was a blind tasting with four St. Magdalena wines to represent four different types, plus one intruder. There was an aged Schiava, a new approach wine, a classic approach wine, a wine made from more clones of Schiava, and a Pinot Noir.
In the end, the masterclass was guided by Daniele Cernilli (DoctorWine) and Christine Mayr (the president of Sommeliervereinigung Südtirol). Nine wines in total to help understand more in-depth the characteristics of St. Magdalena wine.
When are you going to Bolzano Bozen next time?
I’ve shown you several times that the Alto Adige/Südtirol province offers a terrific range of wine thanks to its different altitudes, its microclimates and soils.
Personally, I’m in love with this region!
If you’re in any doubt about which area to visit, my suggestion is to book a hotel or house exactly in the Alto Adige/Südtirol county seat. Bolzano Bozen is located in a strategic point that allows you to discover all of the region. In addition, you will have all the convenience of the big city, from museums to restaurants, and from shopping to events. I know from experience.
Besides, there are also some guided routes for wines in the Bolzano Bozen area.
If you need other suggestions about wineries, hotels or restaurants, please send me a message. But now I’m curious to know what your favourite St. Magdalena wine is. You can leave a comment below.