J. HOFST√ĄTTER, Termeno-Tramin

Joseph Hofstätter established this winery in 1907, in what was then Austria. Today, the Alto Adige (aka Südtirol) is Italian territory, albeit with a distinctly German accent. Both languages are used, and towns and villages have dual names. The village of Termeno (Tramin in German – an indication that this is the historic home of Gewurztraminer…) lies in the warm southern part of the region, where figs, lemons and olives thrive.

Hofstätter farms 50 hectares, and is unique in that they have vineyards on both the east and west side of the the Adige River, with very distinct terroir.

It was in 1942 that Hofstätter’s nephew Kondrad Oberhofer assumed control of the estate, and established the practice of isolating the best vineyards into separate lots. He was first in the region to produce single-vineyard designated wines. Oberhofer’s daughter married Paolo Foradori, bringing additional important vineyards and advanced vineyard-management techniques to the estate.

Paolo Foradori & Sieglinde Oberhofer’s son, Martin Foradori Hofstätter is now responsible for this historic family estate. Martin’s cousin, Elisabetta Foradori is also an esteemed winemaker, with an estate in nearby Trentino. Clearly, this is an important family, with very deep roots in the region.

The modern cellar was completely refurbished in 2013, with conical concrete fermentation vessels replacing the stainless tanks installed in the 1970s. The stunningly beautiful cellar was designed to handle many small lots of wine from the multitude of vineyards that make up the estate. Traditional grape varieties of the Alto Adige are cultivated, with a focus on Gewürztraminer, Pinot Bianco, Lagrein, Schiava and Pinot Nero. Single-vineyard wines are clearly indicated with the name of the ‘Vigna’, differentiating them from the ‘village’ wines coming from multiple vineyards. The village wines are pure, classic expressions of the traditional varietals, while the single-vineyard and Reserve bottlings show the great potential of these historic sites. Simply put, these wines will change perceptions, and their international reputation is well-deserved.

Interesting note:  Martin Foradori Hofstätter co-owns Weingut Dr. Fischer in Germany's Saar River Valley with Nik Weis of St. Urbans-hof.