The Juval hillside is located near Naturno, in the lower Val Venosta, a valley at the foot of the Sessa Dolomites, 30-40 kilometers north-east of Bolzano, in South Tyrol. Its name comes from the latin Mons Jovis (Mount of Jupiter) as evidence of the fact that the ancient Romans knew the area and guarded it because of its strategic position, just above the valley. The first settlements traces, however, date back to much earlier: it is estimated that the area was populated as early as the sixth millennium BC. The most explicit evidence of these populations is the discovery, in 1991, of one of the most famous mummies in the world, the Simulan Man, who lived around 3200 BC.
In an area such as this, so rich in history, the famous extreme alpinist Reinhold Messner bought, in 1983, a castle (as a summer residence) which over time became one of its museums, whose lands had a great vocation to wine. This latter aspect prompted Messner, in 1992, to found, together with the Aurich consorts, the Unterortl-Castel Juval winery, with its four hectares between 600 and 850 meters of altitude. Here the vines are planted at high density (8000 vines per hectare) and the agronomic techniques are mainly manual, also because of the excessive steepness and slope of the vineyards that would not allow the use of machinery. The soils are characterized by the presence of the characteristic gneiss rocks that heat very quickly to the rays of the sun, guaranteeing an excellent excursus of the temperatures between the warm mornings and the nights cooled by the air currents coming from Val Senales.
Among the wines of this winery the Riesling Windbichel occupies a prominent place. The grapes, obtained from the vineyard of the same name, at 700-750 meters above sea level, are harvested at perfect ripeness with a first careful selection of the bunches already on the plant. Once in the cellar they rest for a few days, in order to extract as many substances as possible from the skins, before being pressed and fermented (at low temperature) and aged in steel on the yeasts. After bottling, the wine rests for another 12 months.
This 2016 vintage has a straw yellow color of good intensity and softness, with main hints of peach in syrup, wildflower honey, dried apricot and quartzite, followed by candied citron, combusted phosphorus, and Normandy butter, with final echoes of burnt bone and hydrocarbon. The palate starts acid, sharp as a razor blade, but slowly softness balances it, while the good flavor and the vegetal note alternate, with a call of dried apricot and hydrocarbon that reappear and accompany the sip beyond its enought long closure.
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