In autumn when the days start to get shorter and nature dresses in a uniquely colourful cloak, then in the Eisack Valley it’s time for the year’s fifth season, Törggelen. The local wine growers and farmers open their wine taverns and parlours and offer their guests home made treats from the farmyard and field.
A walk through colourful vineyards and chestnut groves, past castles and old rustic farms, whilst in the background the mountain peaks glow red and the last rays of the sun fall through the ancient chestnut trees is just the moment to stop for a bite to eat in a comfortable farmhouse snuggery or local wine tavern.
Bacon, cheese, smoked sausages, potatoes in their skins, “Blattler” with sauerkraut, barley soup, “Schlutzkrapfen” (a kind of ravioli), homemade sausages and salt meat with sauerkraut, a butcher’s platter and sweet doughnuts, roast chestnuts and fruit from the farms are all part of a typical Törggelen menu, together with home made wine and juices.
In some Törggelen taverns you can try other tasty produce, such as lamb and mutton, spare ribs and blood sausage, which are also among the delicacies on offer here and there. Eisack Valley Wines
Whereas in 1950 80% of the wine produced in the Eisack Valley was red, today, due to the altitude and geological conditions most growers now specialise in white wine. As a result, nowadays the Eisack Valley Sylvaner, Kerner, Müller Thurgau and Gewürztraminer are renowned throughout the world, and other Eisack Valley white wines such as the Veltliner, Riesling and Ruländer have also developed into high quality wines that have received recognition from notable wine guides.
The predominant red wine varieties in the Eisack Valley are Vernatsch, Zweigelt and Portugieser. The Origins of the Törggelen
Ci sono diverse teorie che spiegano le origini dell’antica tradizione del Törggelen. There are several theories about why the Törggelen came into being. One theory has it that the custom derives from the wine trade, when wine merchants and restaurateurs from the northern parts of the region and the southern German-speaking world came together in the wine growing areas in order to taste the new wines. Another story says that the tradition has its origins in the barter trade between the wine growers in the valley bottom and the cattle farmers who lived and worked at higher altitudes. When the new wine was ready, the cattle farmers were informed, beasts were slaughtered and the wines were tasted accompanied by a hearty meal.
Whatever the truth, everyone is agreed that the tradition began in the Eisack Valley, perhaps because on the fringes of the winegrowing areas the previous year’s wine did not last until the new wine was ready, and so the delight at its arrival was all the greater.
The word “törggelen” – and here everyone is agreed – comes from the word for the wine press, the “Torggl”, and not, as many people used to suspect, from “torkeln” (to stagger) and thus the shaky condition in which many a guest would leave the wine taverns.
The South Tyrolean wine press, which in the past would measure as much as 15 metres in height, is known as the “Torggl”. In turn the word “Torggl” comes from the Latin “torquere”, which means to wind, press or turn. This refers to the pressing of the mash after the grape harvest. After the grape harvest people would move from Torggl to Torggl in order to taste the new wine and give their critical opinion of it!
The highpoint of the Törggelen is the annual GASSLTÖRGGELEN,
street festival in Klausen, when local specialities and a programme of musical entertainment can be enjoyed in the streets and rustic wine cellars. “Törggelen” taverns in Lajen: