Usually the name of a wine to make it clear immediately what the company’s intentions are towards that specific label, especially if you want to focus strongly on a product to enhance. Call a label “Epokale” with “k” reinforcing the concept, the intention become very clear. Cantina Tramin (Tramin Winey) at Termeno (Bolzano), has given a wine as “Epokale” because wants to be more than historical: even “epochal”. More: it is an “unconventional” Gewürztraminer, called “Epokale” because it has its roots in South Tyrolean history. Not a chance, Cantina Tramin is known as the “House of the Gewürztraminer”.
“The search for our cellar – Wolfgang Klotz, commercial director of Cantina Tramin, explains – brought us back in time, up to two centuries ago, when Gewürztraminer in South Tyrol was often offered with a substantial sugar residue”. The new (but hyper-traditional) “Epokale” wants to be the flagship wine for Cantina Tramin. “To obtain it – Klotz, says – we selected the grapes of the two oldest vineyards (from 20 to 30 years old) exposed to the South-East: those four hectares of the Nussbaumer, on the hills just over 400 meters above sea level, at the foot of the Mendola massif.
The first vintage in the bottle is 2009 harvest: the bottles of what later became the first Epokale Gewürztraminer were transported, in August 2010, to the Monteneve mine in Ridanna Valley, at over 2000 meters of altitude. There was a site for the extraction of metals (silver, lead and zinc), closed in 1985: today is located the Provincial Museum of Mines.
The 1200 bottles of 2009 vintage are stored in the dark, 4 kilometers from the entrance to the tunnel, at a depth of 450 meters under the mountain. Right here Epokale remained in “mine” for about 7 years, at a constant temperature of 11 ° Celsius and at 90% humidity, and even at atmospheric pressure equal to the external one. Obviously, in the mine the following vintages bottles are kept. Year after year, after refining, they will be taken out to be commercialized. The first “mining year” is 2009.
What was the brilliant idea? Simply to know the real longevity of this vine, to understand how far can go. “We have always known – Willi Stürz, winemaker, technical director and beating heart of Cantina Tramin, explained – that the wines stored at high altitude are better than those stored at the bottom of the valley because temperature and atmospheric pressure have a positive effect”. He’s absolutely correct!
My tasting notes. Gewürztraminer Epokale 2009 by Cantina Tramin is a full-bodied wine with a nice residual sugar (desired), however balanced by great freshness. It smells of floral and fruity notes like litchi, rose petals, exotic fruits and even spicy notes (cloves, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) on a mineral background. The sip is full-bodied, deep, very intense, still rich in fruit. In blind tasting, comparing with other seven Gewürztraminer mostly Alsatian, Epokale immediately distinguished itself by dynamism and originality.
Some technical data. Harvest at the end of October. After vinification with soft pressing, the wine stayed for 8 months on the yeasts before being bottled.Total acidity: 5.6 g / l; residual sugars: 107 g / l; alcohol: 12.5% vol. Potential aging: 20 years.
Retail price: € 80 – $ 94. My rating: 93/100