To give an idea of the prestige of the lands currently in possession of the Falkenstein winery, it is necessary to go back 900 years, in the twelfth century, when an official document speaks for the first time of the Bricco del Falco (Hawk’s hill, in German Falkenstein) like a precious and sought-after vineyard. In that area, in Naturno, 40 kilometers north of Bolzano, for at least 200 years, the Pratzner family, a family dedicated to a mixed form of livestock farming and agriculture, resided. Given these premises, it was only a matter of time before Franz Pratzner, in 1989, after having followed the Lainburg Agricultural School, decided to abandon the consolidated production of the famous Val Venosta appes, to convert his entire estate to wine cellar and vineyards. In this revolution Franz is accompanied by his wife Bernadette and, over time, also by the support of his daughters Magdalena, who accompanies him in the vineyard, and Micaela who takes care of the commercial and the social media.
The winery annual production is about 90,000 bottles, obtained thanks to a viticulture that, like those of Valtellina, Cinque Terre and Val d’Aosta, deserves the title of heroic. The 12 hectares of vineyards owned, between 600 and 900 meters above sea level, with slopes that reach almost 65%, have been literally taken away from the mountain (the Sonnenberg) thanks to the construction of terraces held by simple dry stone walls. In such an impervious landscape the vines, planted at very high density (12,000 vines per hectare), with a south-southwest exposure, are cultivated, almost exclusively by hand, according to a philosophy that combines the principle of respect for natural resources with the conviction that human intervention is still decisive to obtain a high quality wine.
Among the various wines produced, this winery won the favor of the public and critics thanks to those obtained by Riesing that, thanks to the dry soils, the very little rain, the great ventilation and temperature variations, that come to mark a difference of 20 degrees between day and night, reach great gustatory and olfactive complexity and pleasure. Since the 2015 vintage, the winery has also given birth to its flagship: the Riesling Alte Rebe (Old Vines) that comes from a small plot of vines of 30-35 years on slate soil. Once carely harvested, the grapes are sent to the cellar where they ferment and, subsequently, mature for 10 months in large acacia barrels, for 5 in steel tanks and for another 12 in bottle, before marketing.
The 2018 vintage has a very light straw yellow color, with an olfactory fan that opens on the characteristic note of hydrocarbons accompanied by dried apricot, peach in syrup and cedar peel, followed by kumquat, flint and strawberry tree honey, with final balsamic echoes. The palate is initially crossed by great acidity that, progressively, is rebalanced by the soft-glyceric component and the mineral sapidity; all enriched by the return of yellow fruit, hydrocarbon and flint that accompany the sip until an excellent length closure.
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