Terminum – Perfection

October 23, 2013 at 9:50 am 4 comments


My next post will feature the best wines I tasted during my recent 18-day trip to Italy that covered six regions. I will write about several outstanding 2012 whites from Campania, Alto Adige and Marche as well as some notable examples of Dogliani along with an excellent Alta Langa as well as several other wines.

But for this post, I am singling out the very best wine I tasted during my trip, the 2010 Cantina Tramin Gewürztraminer Late Harvest “Terminum.” The reason I am writing about this wine separately is simple – this is a wine that is perfect in every respect. I say that with all seriousness, as I don’t like to use the word “great” very often, as it is overused these days. So you can imagine how rarely I use the word “perfect” to describe a wine. But this wine clearly earns that praise!

Cantina Tramin is a cooperative winery in Alto Adige, arguably the finest; for me, I know of virtually no other producer in all of Italy that has as varied a lineup of wines with such high quality. Of course, their “Nussbaumer” Gewürztraminer is one of Italy’s greatest whites every year, as is their blended white “Stoan” (a melange of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Bianco), but I also give extremely high marks to their “Unterebner” Pinot Grigio (about as good as this variety gets in Italy), “Maglen” Pinot Nero, “Urban” Lagrein and even their “Fresinger” Schiava; this last wine a must-try, as you won’t believe a Schiava can be so delicious!


 Gewürztraminer grapes in Solva that will be used by Cantina Tramin (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

The grapes used for this wine are at elevations between 1300 and 1700 feet above sea level in the frazione of Solva, high above the town of Tramin. This is a late harvest wine; clusters are picked in mid-December, while the wine is fermented and aged in French oak barrels. 2010 was an excellent vintage in this area, not too warm (as with several recent vintages), so the grapes maintained their natural acidity and the resulting wine has expressive aromatics.

My tasting notes: Deep golden yellow/amber; aromas of apricot, honey, golden poppies and a hint of custard. Medium-full with excellent concentration, this is lush with a rich mid-palate, while the finish with quite long with a touch of sweetness, which is tempered by the excellent acidity. There is outstanding persistence, beautiful complexity and amazing varietal purity. The finish just goes on forever- this is a great, great wine! Best in 7-10 years.

As I sampled this wine with a colleague from Alto Adige as well as winemaker Willi Stürz, my friend and I looked at each other at the same moment we tasted our first sip. We each had a look in our eyes and without saying anything, we knew what the look meant – we had found perfection!

You must do what you can to find a bottle, as this is an unforgettable wine! (Imported by Winebow)

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  October 25, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Great post, Tom. I’m on a quest now to find this “perfect” wine. There are a couple of wine shops here in Bari with very extensive selections, but we’re headed to Lake Garda next week, so I’ll look there first as we’ll be closer to the source.
    I look forward to reading the reviews of your other finds from your most recent trip as well.

    • 2. tom hyland  |  October 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Mark: Glad you enjoyed it. I can imagine it’s not easy finding Alto Adige wines in Puglia, but you should have pretty good luck in the north.

      How’s life in Puglia?

      • 3. Mark  |  October 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

        Great, so far. I’m discovering some really nice Fiano, Falanghina and Aglianico (among other decent wines) from Puglia and the salento at extremely reasonable prices. The Cantele Amativo (60% primitivo/40% negroamaro) is my favorite Puglian so far.

        Did you ever run across the Triade (fiano, falanghina, greco) during any of your trips to Campania? Probably the best white I’ve had since I’ve been here.
        Will let you know if I’m lucky enough to find the Terminum.

      • 4. tom hyland  |  October 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        Mark: Sounds good. I’ll look for that wine.

        I am not familiar with the Triade, so thanks for the recommendation. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

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