Log in for prices and ordering

Girlan

The Secret Garden: Refreshing, Wallet-Friendly Whites and Fragrant Reds from the Alto Adige
Girlan
For all the riches it has to offer the wine world, the alpine melting pot of Alto Adige remains a secret largely guarded within Italy’s borders. Founded a century ago as a small co-operative winery with 23 growers on their books, Girlan is based in the heart of Italy’s striking mountainous borderlands. Set amid the sawtooth limestone peaks of South Tyrol, this region’s wine culture, like its language and cuisine, has more in common with its neighbours Austria or Germany than with the rest of Italy. Combined with the cool, rocky alpine terroirs, these cultural influences play out in a wide range of distinctive wines: pulpy, mineral, mouth-watering whites and intriguing, gastronomically slanted reds from local grapes Lagrein and Schiava.

Girlan was one of the first cantinas in the region to pay a premium based on the quality of grapes it receives. That charter has only been strengthened under the current direction of Oscar Lorandi and locally born cellarmaster Gerhard Kofler. Today, they work with 200 families who farm around 215 hectares of vines, meaning the average grower’s holding is still under a single hectare. If the grower delivers grapes worthy of a premium Girlan bottling, they get a generous bonus. This incentive clearly goes a long way. Girlan holds a cast-iron reputation as one of the region’s front-runners and is a regular feature on the Gambero Rosso red carpet and Italy’s Michelin-starred wine programs.

The Adige produces many outstanding wines, the best of which deservedly sit in the upper price ranges. Many of these wines represent traditions that reach back centuries. So, to have a producer that offers such value, and wines made with serious purpose, is something to cherish—especially in days like these. The style of the wines is very much in the zeitgeist—aromatic, textural, snappy whites and delicious, fragrant, crunchy-fresh reds—and each release speaks loudly of its mountainous, stony terroirs. For buyers looking to Europe for diversity and value, these count among the best-value wines we ship each year.

The Wines

Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Bianco 2022

Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Bianco 2022

This juicy, drink-now aromatic white is a well-judged blend of 45% Pinot Bianco with the remainder split between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. All the fruit is grown at 448 metres (hence the name) on the mineral-rich hillside vineyards of Alto Adige's Cornaiano canton. The name not only refers to the altitude of the source vineyards but also to a local expression: ‘448’ or ‘quattro quattro otto’ is a local saying for ‘hurry up’ or ‘chop chop’. So, there's a bit of Tyrolean wordplay going on here.

This is so delicious. A super aromatic, juicy wine that’s perfect for drinking over the warmer months. Similarly weighted to a Cheverny or Pouilly Fumé, you can expect a mouthwatering, tangy wine with the characters of spring blossom, citrus peel and fresh-cut herbs on both the nose and the palate. In the mouth, it’s crunchy, racy and refreshing, but becomes more and more textural over time in the glass. Serious bang for buck on offer here.

Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Bianco 2022
Girlan Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2022

Girlan Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2022

Like most producers in Alto Adige who want to sell some wine on the international market, Girlan does make a Pinot Grigio. It’s a good wine, but the truth of the matter is that their Pinot Bianco is miles more interesting (in our humble opinion!), so we ship this instead. This comes from hand-picked fruit grown on Alto Adige’s mineral-rich hillsides of Cornaiano, at altitudes ranging from 450 to 500 metres above sea level. The juice fermented in tank, with 10% going through malolactic conversion to add some flesh to the wine's cool Alpine bones. The weight and texture here is pinpoint; expect pulpy citrus, apple and notes of apple blossom vying with pithy, mineral freshness.

Girlan Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2022
Girlan Alto Adige Platt & Riegl Pinot Bianco 2022

Girlan Alto Adige Platt & Riegl Pinot Bianco 2022

This pristine Pinot Bianco is drawn from a single vineyard called Platt & Riegl at an elevation of 550 metres above sea level in the gravelly, mineral-rich soils of the Appiano Monte. The area is considered to be one of the premier terroirs of the Alto Adige, and this is one of its finest vineyards. Here, in the lee of the snow-capped Mount Mendola, the sun-drenched, rocky soils and the elevation make a considerable contribution to the style of the wine, as do the old vines, hand-harvesting, partial malolactic conversion and partial vinification in large oak (50% in 5,000L cask).

These influences result in a more satin-textured, mineral wine than you typically get from this variety.

Girlan Alto Adige Platt & Riegl Pinot Bianco 2022
Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Rosso 2022

Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Rosso 2022

From a vintage built on fresh, vibrant fruit and soft, ripe tannins, the 448 Rosso is drawn from grapes grown (unsurprisingly) at around 448 metres above sea level in the Alto Adige. It's crafted from a blend of two indigenous Südtirol varieties—Lagrein and Schiava—along with Pinot Nero, with which the terroirs of Alto Adige have a proven affinity. The Lagrein comes from the deep, sandy soils of the Bassa Atesina (a warmer terroir, ideal for ripening this variety). The Pinot Nero and Schiava are grown on the hillside vineyards of Cornaiano, in sunny, well-aerated vineyards. Fermentation is in tank and old barrels, and the wines complete their maturation in concrete vats.
It's a moreish, aromatic, fleshy Alpine red with delicious notes of dark cherry fruit, aniseed and alpine herbs, textured/slippery fruit, sappy freshness and fine, food-friendly tannins. We could drink a lot of this, and without apology.

Girlan IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 448 Rosso 2022
Girlan Alto Adige Lagrein 2022

Girlan Alto Adige Lagrein 2022

At its best, Lagrein can produce some of the Alto Adige’s most striking reds, and this is one such example. Drawn from vineyards within the sandy Bassa Atesina terroir (a canton of the mountainous Südtiroler Unterland), this fine example is raised in large wooden barrels and concrete vats for five months. 

It’s a gorgeous, accessible red, with an enticing mix of radiant black fruit and spice, alongside pencil-shaving and graphite notes. Though only 12.5 percent alcohol, the same exuberance plays out on the fleshy, supple palate featuring integrated tannins, lively acidity and a vibrant finish. Begs the question:  why aren’t more people talking about Lagrein? Would be even more delicious with a juicy leg of lamb or braised beef shin.

Girlan Alto Adige Lagrein 2022

“Innovation and a pioneering spirit have driven this historic Oltradige winery since its beginnings in 1923. The winery and cellarmaster Gerhard Kofler plays a significant role in the Alto Adige winemaking and vineyard scenario. These are all major wines with great technique and personality.” Gambero Rosso



"This Cornaiano winery does not miss a beat and, year after year, is confirmed as one of the most close-knit and quality companies in South Tyrol. A successful team that combines tradition and innovative drive.” Slow Wine Italy

Other Recent Releases

  • Jaeger Defaix
    Jaeger Defaix
    How nice it was to see the smiles return to the faces of Didier and Hélène Defaix. And ...
    How nice it was to see the smiles return to the faces of Didier and Hélène Defaix. And what charming smiles they are! If Burgundy’s growers were pr...

    Read more

  • Lethbridge Gamays
    Lethbridge Gamays
    When Ray and Maree Collis started Lethbridge Estate in 1996, the first vines that went ...
    When Ray and Maree Collis started Lethbridge Estate in 1996, the first vines that went into the ground were Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Shiraz. The ...

    Read more

  • Garagiste
    Garagiste
    2023 is the gift that keeps on giving. Across the board, our Victorian growers have tur...
    2023 is the gift that keeps on giving. Across the board, our Victorian growers have turned out some of their most exciting wines to date, and Barne...

    Read more

  • Thomas Wines
    Thomas Wines
    After 30 years of making world-class Hunter Valley Shiraz, Andrew Thomas’s passion for ...
    After 30 years of making world-class Hunter Valley Shiraz, Andrew Thomas’s passion for the variety and his region hasn’t budged an inch. It has all...

    Read more

  • Mayacamas & Philip Togni
    Mayacamas & Philip Togni
    Where to start with Mayacamas Vineyards? How about with the words of Eric Asimov: “A le...
    Where to start with Mayacamas Vineyards? How about with the words of Eric Asimov: “A legendary purveyor of classically structured, ageworthy Napa V...

    Read more

  • Bondar
    Bondar
    Who says nice guys finish last? It’s been a great twelve months for Andre Bondar and Se...
    Who says nice guys finish last? It’s been a great twelve months for Andre Bondar and Selina Kelley. Not only was Bondar crowned the Dux of the 2023...

    Read more

  • Meadowbank
    Meadowbank
    From the moment Peter Dredge joined forces with the Ellis family, Meadowbank has not mi...
    From the moment Peter Dredge joined forces with the Ellis family, Meadowbank has not missed a beat. Vintage 2023 continues this partnership’s stell...

    Read more

  • Robert Weil
    Robert Weil
    If you know where to look, 2022 is manna from heaven for Riesling lovers. We had the pl...
    If you know where to look, 2022 is manna from heaven for Riesling lovers. We had the pleasure of Robert Weil’s Nicolas Langer’s company in the trad...

    Read more

  • Place of Changing Winds
    Place of Changing Winds
    Today, we offer the Place of Changing Winds (POCW) Grower Series wines, mainly from the...
    Today, we offer the Place of Changing Winds (POCW) Grower Series wines, mainly from the cooler, later-ripening 2022 season. These wines are the pro...

    Read more

View All Offers

More Content

More on this Producer