Abbazia di Novacella is Italy’s northernmost winery, located 1,800 feet above sea level in the Isarco Valley of the Alto Adige region. The winery’s focus is on fresh, aromatic, cool-climate white wines, many of which are made from grapes of Germanic origin.
The abbey was founded in 1142 by the Augustinian order of monks. Unlike other orders, such as the Benedictines, Augustinian monks are more of a ‘working’ order than a contemplative one, without the required vows of silence. The abbey is one of the few monastery-wineries still in existence today.
Today, the abbey’s winemaking and viticultural duties are handled by Celestino Lucin and Urban von Klebelsberg respectively. Celestino Lucin has been the cellar master at the Abbazia di Novacella for more than ten years now. Originally from Trentino, he moved to Alto Adige in the 1980’s and to the Abbazia little more than a decade ago. Working with Urban, he completely rebuilt the cellars and restructured the vineyards of the celebrated ancient abbey.
Celestino and the abbey have received numerous accolades including “Winery of the Year” in 2008 from Wine & Spirits magazine and “Winemaker of the Year” from Gambero Rosso in 2009. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has rated the Kerner Praepositus 90+ points each of the last four vintages.
I’ve been a fan of the wines made at Abbazia di Novacella for over a decade. The 2010 whites have just been released and continue the string of brilliant wines made from this winery. We chose three of our favorite wines from the lineup; The Kerner 2010 ($19.99), the Kerner Praepositus ($27.99), and the Sylvaner Praepositus ($27.99). The Praepositus wines are the abbey’s prized labels and are rare and in short supply. Don’t miss them!
Howard Padgett, Imported Wine Buyer