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Girlan Gschleier Alte Reben Vernatsch, Alto Adige, Italy 2020

Produced by Girlan


2020  |  12.5%

This Vernatsch is unique. It is elegant and full bodied with fruity tannins, accompanied by a marvellous flavour. A wine with exceptional ageing potential. Its characteristics make it perfect for serving with mediterranean foods.

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One of the Top 100 Wines (39/100) for 2022 at the Decanter Wines of the Year awards. Much loved by the team at JanisRobinson.com & winner of the Vernatsch of the Year.

This wine is very limited in this winning 2020 vintage! The judges noted shiitake mushrooms and smokey tertiary characteristics, making this wine great on its own or with food. It is not as light in body as other Vernatsch due to a combination of 100 year old vines, a scrupulous selection of grapes and its treatment in the cellar.

Identified in 1975 by Kellermeister Hartmuth Spitaler as a site of superior quality, Gschleier continues to win plaudits as the greatest Vernatsch available. In 2020 it returned to its original light coloured Bordeaux bottle with oversized labels featuring artwork by Paul Flora who gave his art to Girlan for their labels for the first time in the same year.

Ageing Potential: 10 years.

Decanter Wines of the Year: 95 pts
2 Bicchieri Rossi, Gambero Rosso
Doctor Wine: 94 pts

Decanter: Ripe red cherry and crisp red flowers of good intensity. Light but persistent. Tart, crisp acidity underpins this bright red fruit-scented wine, leaving a mouthwatering finish. Mountain fresh herbal notes with a hint of shiitake add intrigue, and hint at the tertiary evolution to come.

James Suckling: Apart from its self-confidently dry finish, this vernatsch does a good impression of a well-crafted pinot noir. Subtle red-berry and wild-herb character and a sleek, well-structured body makes this a striking red that’s light years’ removed from international norms. So invigorating! Intense dried-herb character at the long, clean finish. Drink or hold.

Vernatsch, Schiava or Trollinger, has forever flown under the radar of fine wine buyers despite decades of critical acclaim. First appearing in records in the 16th Century plantings have significantly decreased in recent decades to make way for easier to grow Pinot Grigio. 6% of all Vernatsch plantings in Sudtirol are in Girlan’s cru Gschleier, a fair chunk considering 100 wineries in the area produce a wine using what the Italians call, Schiava. Sited a short walk from the winery, Gschleier sits on a gentle south facing slope at 450m a.s.l on the site of a Roman camp discovered in 1950 meaning that the 80-100 year old Vernatsch vines pictured in the gallery, were already mature at the time of the find. No fertilisation or irrigation further decreases the yield of the vines this old to produce, what has been dubbed by JanisRobinson.com, as “The Mother of all Schiavas”.

Production area
“Gschleier” is certainly one of the best-known winegrowing areas of the Alto Adige. In fact, these vines are between 80 and 110 years old, which makes them unique. The vines grow at an altitude of 450m above sea level, in lime, clay and gravel soils. The position and the exposure of the slope ensure optimal sunstroke which gives rise to a full wine with a great aging potential.

The grapes are picked by hand and placed in small containers to prevent excesspressure on the grapes. Destemming and slow must fermentation (15-20 days) instainless steel tanks (gravity-flow). Malolatic fermentation and aging for 9 months in big wooden barrels and 6 months in the bottle.

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