Christmas in the Dolomites
Romantic Christmas mood in a family atmosphere.
The sun glows one last time over the high mountain peaks, bathing the terrace of the Hotel Marica in a soft light that is reflected in the first glass that we are tasting today: a 2015 Pitzner “Finell” Pinot Grigio 13.5% alcohol by volume, an ideal start to an informative and entertaining evening.
she compares the wines she has chosen for the evening to people, imaginary people, who can however easily be pictured thanks to Carola’s detailed descriptions.
Wine tasting thus becomes a blind date, exciting, surprising, informative, often pleasant, occasionally disappointing. “Just like blind dates. You must be ready for anything, but people’s tastes are different”, she says with a wink.
The wine is young, yet full of character, a little sweet, with a lasting impression on the palate.
Brothers Markus and Thomas, winegrowers both, have transformed their shared common passion into a profession - and quite right too, I think.
Next on the list is a 2016 South Tyrol Kerner Franz Gojer from the Glögglhof Estate, 14.5% by volume. Candidate no. 2 is somewhat more resistant and not so easy to manage as Candidate no. 1.
This means that he is somewhat picky, and so for example will not pair with all foods.
This South Tyrolean Kerner has an aromatic taste: “At first you think it is sweet, but it isn’t”, laughs Carola. It is also very spoilt, with the vines enjoying the sun all day long, from early morning to late afternoon.
It may not be everyone's type, but it’s most certainly mine! We are after all here for something special.
as we meet a lady “with high heels and plenty of make-up”, in Carola’s apt words.
Famed throughout South Tyrol, the 2013 "Puntay" Gewürztraminer a native variety, 14.5% by volume, can hardly be faulted for presenting itself in the form of a lady.
Drinking it means being ready and prepared to get close to this lady from the south of South Tyrol. She wants nothing to do with the mountains and only feels truly at home in the valley, whence she takes her golden-yellow tone and heady fragrance.
Wonderful – I am a convert....
tasting a “Lagrein Kretzer” (or rosé) from the Mayr-Unterganzner Estate owned by Josephus and Barbara Mayr.
It is lively and youthful, like its maker Josephus Mayr, always one to try a different path. As well as winemaking, he has tried his hand at olives and bananas and has now made a rosé from a late vintage – supposedly a mortal sin, says Carola.
But one I really like! Let's see however, as the best is usually saved until last.
And on to something new – the red wines.
Carola now serves a 2012 South Tyrolean Cabernet Franc “Puit” presenting it as a “purely masculine story”. This wine is interesting yet balanced, straight but always honest, slightly tart, sometimes even bitter. One to be appreciated, at any rate.
How does he do it?
Armin Kobler, who makes this wine leaving no residual sugar in it, is convinced the screw cap is the answer. The wine should not change after bottling - just remain straight, like the label that features the cadastral map of his estate: all straight lines and right angles, and all the more interesting for that.
..first asking if we are perhaps hungry.
My neighbour replies “No, we can drink instead!” There is laughter and a convivial atmosphere as we look forward to the final candidate.
This is a 2013 “Puntay Lagrein Riserva” from the Erste+Neue Winery, 13.5% by volume and a distinctive finish for today's wine-tasting session: a genuine South Tyrolean, a bit “giddy”, as Carola says. She's right, it only opens up a little later. It needs some time to mature. So now, pleasantly cheerful and light of heart, it should be easy to make up my mind.
Now then Melanie, which is it to be? Candidate 1, the Finell, Candidate 2, the young Franz from the Glögglhof or Candidate 3, the fashionable and universally loved Gewürztraminer. Or Candidate 4, the lively rosé, Candidate 5, briefly called Puit, or the giddy Candidate 6 – all have what it takes to make me love them!
Who should finally be my sweetheart?
But why choose?
I think I will come back and try again... a little here, a little there. Life is too fine to drink just one wine!
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"We stayed in a very large room, with very spacious bathroom and separate toilet. The owners are very welcoming and helpful in giving tips for our snowshoe hiking (the area is great for winter and snowshoe hiking). The breakfast was excellent and the dinners were delicious, every course was of a very high quality. We have stayed in many Vitalpina hotels (all very good) but this one stands out for service, hospitality, atmosphere and delicious food!"
"We were already several times in the winter and in the summer in the Marica and would gladly come again! You feel welcome and is in every way ( küchenshow, gourmet menu, wine tastings, exciting excursions, pool, sauna, massages, etc.) the best."
"A lot of fun, relaxation and friendliness await you. Ps: for the particularly active guests there is always a wide range of leisure activities with its own care available."