The Pinot Bianco Riserva Vorberg from Cantina Terlano has fast become a staple with the Atlas team and Atlas clients alike…it is a world class wine without a doubt. The 2016 impressed us greatly and the 2017, released here at £170 per 6 bottle case in bond continues a fine run of vintages. If you were in need of evidence as to the quality of this age-worthy northern Italian white, consider the summary of reviews below.
Antonio Galloni gave the 1955 Pinot Bianco ‘Vorberg’ – yes the 1955 – 100 points when tasted in 2013, commenting that it surprised a group of wine lovers who have had the world’s greatest bottles many times. His colleague, Ian d’Agata, scored the 1959 at 99 points, and the 1966 at 98 points. Recent vintages fair well too, with the 2015 ‘I Primo’ registering 97 points with d’Agata.
Pinot Bianco (a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir) is the most significant variety at Terlano and ‘Vorberg’ (meaning ‘in front of the mountain’) is the flagship white. The fruit for the Vorberg derives from vines in sandy soils on steep south/southwest facing slopes at altitudes of 400-900 meters. The nutrient-poor soils control the natural vigour of the vines, while the aspect and altitude allow fruit to ripen fully and evenly. The result is a wine with both concentrated floral aromatics and notable minerality.
Cantina Terlano is easily one of the leading producers, based in north-eastern Alto Adige. Founded nearly 40 years ago, it is, surprisingly, a cooperative boasting 143 growers who pool together 190 hectares of vines! Nothing at Terlano is rushed; two green harvests are carried out to control yields and fruit is hand harvested and selected. Gentle, whole cluster pressing is employed, and fermentation and ageing both occur in large oak barrels. So committed to producing age-worthy wines, the Cantina actually holds back a few thousand bottles of Vorberg for at least four years. This practice has its roots in the post-war years when Sebastian Stocker, the ‘Kellermeister’ (cellar master), would hide bottles behind walls. You can actually still see some of his hiding places when you visit the winery.
This wine sits comfortably among the finest, young Italian whites we have tasted collectively and proves fascinating when given some time in bottle, with the fruit taking on greater richness and complexity. I tasted a 2012 at the same time as the 2017 and you can see how the evolution had amplified the richness and smoky, slightly oily complexity….
Please see below for my full note.
2017 Pinot Bianco Riserva, Vorberg, Cantina Terlano
£170 per 6 bottle case in bond
Pale in the glass, this vintage offers scents of ripe pear, white flower and a certain zesty citrus note and a hint of chamomile. The juicy characters of stone fruit really impress, white peach, apricot and greengage with a gently building sense of richness. There is a creamy accent here, and an uncanny depth – you don’t pick up on it at first but there is plenty of substance here. As the sense of concentration builds, slightly leesy, mineral nuances come to the fore, with a smoky mineral quality. This is a beautifully pure wine with surprising length. I left it in a decanter, well I managed to leave a little in a decanter, and it remained fresh and vibrant the following day. It is all too easy to enjoy young, but this Pinot Bianco has a great capability to age. Very impressive indeed. (SL) Drink 2021-2036+
And if you are intrigued to see how it ages, we have a small quantity of the 2012 vintage of the same wine, which can be offered at
£245 per 6 bottle case duty-paid and including VAT.
Please let us know of your interest. The 2012 is available for immediate delivery, and the 2017 should be available within 4 weeks.
All the best,