Winery of the Month – SEP 2018
For September we are going to travel to the far North to the region of Alto Adige. The region has one of the most complicated histories imaginable. At one point it was controlled by The Romans, Germanic Tribes, Charlegmane, Holy Roman Empire, various Counts and Duchy’s, The Hapsburgs, Bavaria, The Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, Austria, Italy, Mussolini’s Italy, Germany, and then back to Italy. As one can imagine this caused quite the headache in the region. Most of the population is German speaking[i] and after WW1 there were problems integrating this populous into Italy. Following World War Two, there were several treaties between Italy and Austria to decide how to deal with the separatist movements. There was quite a bit of domestic terrorism in the 60’s leading to a UN resolution. All of this has lead to the region being granted a large amount of autonomy, in that it is allowed some legislative and financial powers.
The winery of Muri-Gries has almost as confusing a story as the region. 1027 saw the founding of the Monastery of St. Martin of Tours in Muri Switzerland. In 1064, the abbey church was consecrated. Around this time, in Alto Adige the Counts of Bolzano built a fortress in the “chellar district” of the region to guard against the influence of the City of Bolzano which was ruled by the Tyrol Dukes at the time. By the 1200s, the Tyrol dukes had overtaken the land and the fortress became their residence. Then in 1407 the fortress was handed over to an Augustinian order of monks who lost their abbey in a flood. Around this time the use of the name Gries replaced the old term “cheller.” In 1807, the Priory was dissolved and Gries castle was vacant. Back in Muri the Monastery of St Martin was fighting for its existence. Taking its cues from the French Revolution, the Canton of Argau had begun to expel all religious institutions. This expulsion is where these two stories converge. In 1845, the Austrian Emperor allowed the monks of Muri to take control of Gries castle and Muri-Gries was born. The monks were very adept at tending the attached vineyards and soon started exporting casked wine. After the world wars, the winery started bottling some of their wines for local sales. The 90’s saw the focus on high quality site specific wines from indigenous varities begin. That, I believe, is the most complete story of the Benedictine Abbey Muri-Gries that I can give.
Muri-Gries Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio likes Alto Adige a lot. The long and cool growing season means that you can have the refreshing light bodied wine with more fruit character than you can get in warmer regions where the grape ripens quickly. You see that perfectly here with great citrus and pear flavors with a light body and plenty of refreshing acidity.
Regularly $23.99 Sale $17.99
Muri-Gries Muller Thurgau
Muller is a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner. It was invented by Dr. Muller of Thurgau Switzerland. The wines are full of peach and melon flavors. The wine is light and fresh and perfect for starters or as a “porch pounder,” yes that is a technical term.
Regularly $23.99 Sale$17.99
Muri-Gries Lagrein Kretzer
In the middle ages, Kretzer was the name given to a rose from Lagrein. A medium bodied rose with bright red fruits, a little hint of herbs and a great refreshing acidity. It is a great wine for antipasto, white meats and heavier fish.
Regularly $25.99 Sale $19.99
Here is wine that will make you try grapes you have never heard of. Lagrein is native to Alto Adige and just about the only place it is grown today. The wine is medium bodied with integrated tannins and a zippy acidity. Bright berry flavors with a little bit of plum and baking spices. A very versatile wine with lots of meats, roasts, or pizza. Try one you won’t be sorry.
Regularly $29.99 Sale $23.99
We will be tasting these wines on Labor Day from 5-7:30
 In several Municipalities the official language is Ladin, a Romance language that is only spoken in Alto Adige.