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Summer of Schiava

The perfect chillable, light-bodied red for summer

By Morgan Perry

Most people might drink reds in the summer (inside the a/c, especially here in Texas) but red wines are not thought of as summer wines. But, the chillable reds can work well in the heat with things like BBQ - we all know Pinot Noir (which should be served slightly chilled, always!), and you may even be familiar with grapes like Gamay (which makes Beaujolais). But, have you heard of Schiava?

Schiava (or Vernatsch in German) is a red grape that is indigenous to the Northern Italian region of Alto Adige, where it's been growing since the 16th century—in fact, many Schiavas are made from old vines in the region, some of which are 80-100 years old. In recent decades, there has been an increased focus on the quality of Schiava, with winegrowers paying mind to vineyard area and clonal selection.

I like to think of Schiava as between a rosé and a light-bodied red. It's lighter than Pinot Noir, with less tannin. It can be served even cooler (put it in the fridge, drink it a few moments later or just start pouring it up and stick it in a wine chiller once it's out!). This wine is TASTY and almost too easy to drink! The perfect porch pounder or pool-side wine when you want something different, or prefer a red wine to go with what's on the grill.

Schiava from Alto Adige is known for notes of almond, violets, and fresh berries – perfectly enjoyed on its own or paired with seafood, BBQ, pasta, pizza, Asian dishes or light cheeses.

You can find Schiava from Alto Adige at many fine wine shops (like Austin or Houston Wine Merchant). Here are some examples in for where to find some Schiava in Texas:

Cantina Bolzano MOAR St. Magdalener

  • L'Oca D'Oro-Austin TX

  • Italian Cowboy Food and Provision-Rockport TX

  • Casa Vindemia-Wimberly TX

Cantina Kurtatsch SONNTALER Schiava

  • Houston: 13 Celsius, Coppa Osteria, Trattoria Sofia

  • Austin: Neighborhood Vintner

PRO TIP You may find it labeled as Alto Adige Santa Maddelena or Alto Adige Meranese, which both may contain up to 15% of other red grape varieties that thrive in those vineyards, or as Alto Adige Lago di Caldero (Kalterersee in German).

Cheers to the Summer of Schiava!


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