Time in The Sun #1 - Schiava
01 Apr 2022
This new series shines a light on varieties the lesser known varieties we love, and some we’ve just discovered, because every grape deserves it's time in the sun.
Schiava (pronounced “Ski-ah-vah”) is an old grape with obscure origins. Grown predominantly in the Northern Italian Alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige and the South Western German area of Württemberg, where it’s known locally as Trollinger. The Germans drink most of their own juice, so it’s unlikely you’ll see any ‘Trollinger’ in the NZ market anytime soon, however following NZ’s latest obsession with light chillable reds (Beaujolais, Gamay) Italy’s version is slowly making its mark.
Though there is no specific history on this particular variety, records show that the grape has been growing in the Trentino-Alto Adige region since the sixteenth century. Up until the 1970’s, Schiava was produced there in decent quantities, but faded in popularity over the next few decades as plantings were reduced in favour of other varieties. The vineyards that did remain however, turned their focus to quality, and as such have created a renaissance of sorts.
Schiava is a thinned skinned red grape, and vintners tend to follow standard red winemaking methods, fine-tuning processes along the way to suit the character of the grape. Most Schiava is fermented in stainless steel to preserve its signature red fruit character, then matured in older oak to add gentle structure.
These wines tend to be feminine, elegant with bright acidity, and lower alcohol (12%). Its light bodied and very aromatic, cherry, raspberry, pomegranate and in some cases candy floss is the vibe here. As well as being an enjoyable food wine, Schiava makes a refreshing aperitif when served chilled.
We have just one cuvee currently available to give you an intro to this variety, 2019 Alois Lageder’s ‘Romigberg’ Schiava which also happens to be the best example we’ve tried!
If you like elegant chillable reds, we suggest you grab yourself a bottle!