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Grown with time

There is no clock in his wine cellar, but time still plays an important role. “It is the measure of all things,” says cellar master Rudi Kofler.

The journey through time begins on the way down to the cellar rooms. At the very bottom, 13 metres below ground, is the Kellerei Terlan winery’s wine archive. Here, nestled amongst ancient walls, lie the best wines from past decades, starting from the 1950s. “A real treasure,” says cellar master Rudi Kofler, “and unique to Italy.”

Amidst historic wines

The adjacent rarities cellar is also a veritable treasure trove. History is being made here, as those wines from the Kellerei Terlan winery that are destined to become great are matured in small steel barrels. In ten, or maybe only after 30 years, the wine world will be able to appreciate their quality. “In the wine cellar, the clocks tick a little differently,” says Rudi Kofler.

Longevity is a characteristic of Terlan/Terlano white wines. The year 1979 is written on one of the barrels, which contains a 40-year-old wine that was aged by the legendary cellar master Sebastian Stocker, and still has fine lees. “This method using steel barrels started as an experiment to demonstrate the ageing potential. This special ageing gives the wine a unique texture and dimension in addition to an impressive freshness”, explains Rudi Kofler, “Sebastian Stocker was ahead of his time with this”.

From the right time

With reverence, the cellar master is carrying on his predecessor’s legacy, but has never stood still. When he took over the reins in the cellar almost 20 years ago, he focused even more on the idea of quality. This has won the winery many awards. Rudi Kofler is convinced that “quality is a way of life”. That is why he has introduced a sophisticated quality management system. Every step of the process, from caring for the vine to the fruity drops in the glass, is precisely defined. And the timing has to be right for each step: “Because anything that happens too early or too late can mean a loss of quality.” The growers, the entire winery staff and Rudi Kofler, as the cellar master, are all required to work as a team.

A daily journey through time

Of course, the cellar master is the key player who drives and motivates his team. He does this with an enthusiasm for wine that he developed as a boy. At that time, he went to help his father in the small family vineyard, observing the course of nature. Even today, as a cellar master, nature sets him new goals every year – and it also sets him limits. “But that's what makes the work varied and exciting,” says Rudi Kofler. He therefore goes to his wine cellar with fresh ideas every day. The time travel begins.

Pleasure with care

How much time should you take to enjoy a good glass of wine?

A quick glass of wine detracts from the enjoyment. The wine must also develop in the glass. You should let the wine rest in the glass for at least a few minutes before enjoying it.

How cool should white wine be for maximum drinking pleasure?

Not as cool as is often recommended. My advice is to never drink it below 10 degrees Celsius. A temperature between 11 and 14 degrees is ideal.

Text: Edith Runer
Photos: Armin Huber

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