Cantina Kaltern, Kalterersee Classico Superiore DOC (Alto Adige, Italy) “Quintessenz” 2017

($34, Enotec Imports, Inc):  Since this DOC is not well-known to most Americans (I had to run to the reference books), a little background.  The DOC is named for a large lake that lies within Alto Adige.  “Classico,” as usual in the Italian DOC nomenclature, refers to the original or heart of the area.  “Superiore” means the grapes, 85 percent of which must be Schiava, are a touch riper.  Cantina Kaltern, a 100-plus year-old co-operative, now has 65 member and controls over 1,000 acres.  “Quintessenz” is a label they use for their upper end wines.  This mid-weight red speaks of dried, rather than freshly picked, cherries, giving it a lovely austerity, as opposed to an in-your-face flamboyance.  Polished tannins lend needed structure without being intrusive.  A refined wine, it would be a good choice for pasta and meat sauce tonight.
91 Michael Apstein Feb 23, 2021