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Cantina Terlano: crafting white wines for ageing

Cantina Terlano is arguably Italy's top white wine co-operative. Michael Garner charts its reputation and winemaking history and rates a dozen wines from 1999-2018.

Produttori del Barbaresco may be the undisputed choice as Italy’s number one red wine co-operative these days, but the top co-op for whites is a closer call. The smart money is on Cantina Terlano, one of the Alto-Adige’s numerous excellent cantine sociali.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 12 top Cantina Terlano wines from 1999-2018

Founded in 1893, today 143 members cultivate some 190ha of vines northwest of regional capital Bolzano on the northern or ‘left’ bank of the river as the Adige valley climbs towards Merano.

The terrain here is largely poor, quick-draining soil of volcanic origin (limestone dominates the opposite flank) and the steep, high altitude vineyards (up to 900m) witness typically warm daytime temperatures and distinctly cool nights.

Excellent versions of the popular local varietals under the umbrella Alto-Adige DOC are fermented in stainless steel with extended lees ageing; the few reds also undergo 6/7 months ageing in classic botte (70% of production is white, higher than the regional average of 64%).

However Terlano’s stellar reputation rests largely on a smaller selection of wines from fruit grown in and around the village and sold under the Terlano banner, a ‘subzone’ of the regionwide DOC since the 1970s. Production centres on the tiny village of Terlano itself, which sits in the crater of an extinct volcano, and includes the neighbouring villages of Nalles and Andriano.

Trademark techniques

Michael Garner’s top 12 Cantina Terlano wines from 1999-2018

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