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Wine: Italy’s alps uncorked

Pursuits | By Bill Knott

There is a small chain of wine bars in London called 28˚-50˚. Jolly good they are too, but the reason I mention them is their name, which refers to the latitudes between which wine grapes can be grown, in both hemispheres. It is a useful rule of thumb, but there is another major factor at play: altitude. I was reminded of this recently, as I spent a few days in the gloriously mountainous Alto Adige. With its Alpine wooden huts, snow-capped peaks and verdant valleys, it looks much like the Austrian Tyrol, but has been a semi autonomous province of Italy since the First World War. It is also one of Italy’s smallest wine regions and yet, thanks to varying altitudes, it cultivates at least 20 different grape varieties. Some thrive in the valleys (as do apples: 11 per cent of the European apple harvest is grown here), while others...

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