Nestled at the foot of Castel Madruzzo, in the foothills of the Dolomites, sits Agricola Pravis. The winery started in the 1970s, as a partnership between three friends. Now, second-generation vintner sisters, Giulia and Erika Pedrini, have taken over the responsibility of running Pravis. Surrounded by stone outcroppings, their small, ecologically-farmed vineyards are scattered throughout the hills, each planted in calcareous stone, according to unique microclimates, with altitudes ranging from 300 to 600 masl. Working with both international as well as indigenous varieties (such as their noteworthy Nosiola), Pravis uses a minimal intervention philosophy that includes a strict gravity flow process. The cooling breeze that whips through the mountain passes from nearby Lake Garda, called the “Ora” by locals, minimizes the risk of mildew and keeps temperatures moderate during the hottest parts of summer, ensuring that these mineral-driven wines retain plenty of elegance. Interestingly, the winery works with the Freiburg Institute in the development of “zero impact” clone varieties that would leave no ecological footprint and would grow in otherwise inhospitable environments for agriculture.
The region of Trentino-Alto Adige is bordered by East and North Tyrol (Austria) to the north-east and north respectively, by Graubünden (Switzerland) to the north-west and by the Italian regions of Lombardy to the west and Veneto to the south and south-east. It covers 13,607 square kilometres and is extremely mountainous, covering a large part of the Dolomites and the southern Alps. Südtirol (where Cantina Kurtatsch is located) has an area of 7,398 square kilometres, all of it mountainous land and covered by vast forests. The climate here is Mediterranean (hot summer and cold winters) owing to the influence of the many mountain ranges, which stand at over 3,000 metres above sea level, and the wide valleys through which flows (from north to south) the main river, the Adige, and its numerous tributaries.
Covered slopes surrounded by slabs of stone, crystal blue lakes and the steep walls of the Dolomites, gently swept by the Mediterranean wind: this is where Pravis wines are produced. Numerous small vineyards scattered on the sunny slopes of the mountains that separate Trento from the lower Sarca Valley, between the Brenta Dolomites and Lake Garda. This wine is sourced from the Sort’Magre Vineyard, planted in limestone.
Syrah is grown throughout the world, producing beautifully diverse and interesting wines. Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. The style and flavour profile of Syrah is greatly influenced by the climate in which the grapes are grown. Moderate climates, such as the northern Rhône Valley and parts of the Walla Walla AVA in Washington State, tend to produce medium- to full-bodied wines with medium to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper. In hot climates, such as the Barossa Valley in Australia, Syrah is more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather. It is becoming increasingly popular with Italian producers as well, with some Northern Italian wineries along the Apennines and Alps dedicating prime vineyard space to it.
Hand-harvested and gently pressed. Fermented in stainless steel, with a 3 week maceration to extract colour and tannic structure. The wine sits on French oak barrels for a year before some time spent in bottle aging.
A rich and textured wine. The nose opens with black plum, mocha, black pepper and a touch of herbaceousness. On the palate, blackberries and licorice join with the plum, as well as some savoury, umami notes. There is acid and tannin to add balance to the ripeness of the fruit. This wine is ready to drink but will reward short- to mid-term aging. Try with roast beef au jus or grilled ribs.