Elena Walch and her eponymous winery in Alto Adige (aka Sudtirol) are leaders in her region and her country. Her national and international success with her efforts in the Sudtirolean quality revolution has garnered her international accolades. An architect by trade, Elena married into one of the oldest and most important wine families of the region. She introduced new modern concepts to a traditional industry and now is preparing to turn the reins over to her daughters Julia and Karoline Walch, the fifth generation of this esteemed family.
Their philosophy (as with most high-quality producers) is based on making terroir-driven wines—wines that reflect the individual characteristics of the soil, climate, vineyard site and cultivation methods. Likewise, they believe that wine is created in the vineyard rather than in the cellar.
Sustainability features heavily in their beliefs, and they farm their 150 acres with this in mind. They value nature and want to put healthy vineyards into the hands of following generations. In the past several years, this has been the basis of the Elena Walch philosophy. Recognizing that the road to sustainability is not an overnight endeavor, they are gradually implementing measures in all areas of the enterprise basing their actions on changing the culture of the whole company rather than handing down a set of strict rules. They want to be a “good” company that protects the environment for future generations while maintaining the quality of their wines.
Although winter stuck around a bit in 2018, warm conditions throughout the year produced a good vintage that was generally better for reds. The grapes for this wine were grown on limestone soils at medium altitude where they could benefit most from the combination of warm Mediterranean summer days and cool Alpine nights. After harvest, the grapes were aged in temperature-controlled steel tanks on the skins for six days and were aged in traditional large oak casks. This Schiava is bright ruby colored with hints of cherry on the nose. Cherries continue on the palate with a bit of bitter almond flavor on the finish to add a note of interest. The wine is elegant with mild acidity, moderate tannins and good length.