Laimburg Schiava Ölleiten, a great red for summer

Click here for the winery website.

Now that the summer is officially here, most wine lovers will more readily reach for white wines.

With the warm temperatures of the season, we tend to crave refreshing wines that are served chilled.

And the fact that white wines generally have lower alcohol content than red is also a plus. As we quench our summer thirst, we tend to drink more and so we favor wines that are lower in alcohol.

Here at Vitis Imports, one of our favorite summer red wines is the Laimburg Shiava Ölleiten from Alto Adige, otherwise known as South Tyrol in German-speaking Italy.

Before the First World War, this region was part of Austria and it remains a semi-autonomous region of Italy, where both German and Italian are spoken, although German is the primary language.

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Laimburg, like most of the producers in Alto Adige, likes lean, fresh, clean wines. And their Schiava — an indigenous grape variety of Alto Adige — is no exception.

Just look at the bright color of that wine (above)! It has bright berry and ripe red fruit notes on the nose, zinging acidity and rich fruit flavors in the mouth, and its finish is super clean.

But the thing we love the most about this wine is it’s low alcohol.

At roughly 12.5 percent (depending on the vintage), this wine never weighs us down with excess.

And it’s a perfect wine to serve slightly chilled. A little chill won’t mute the brilliant fruit in this wine (just be sure not to serve it too cold).

Here’s the winemaker’s fact sheet.

The appellation is Lago di Caldaro Scelto DOC. In other words, Lake Kaltern (Caldaro) Selection (here’s the Wiki link for Lake Kaltern).

This also appears in German on the label as Kalterersee Auslese.

Ölleiten is the name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown for this wine.

One of the reasons that producers in this appellation are able to produce such fresh, bright wines is the maritime influence of Lake Kaltern, which helps to cool the vineyards during summer months, thus prolonging the ripening period without cooking the berries. This allows winemakers to deliver fresh wines with fully developed fruit flavors.

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