The Other Northern Italy

The Other Northern Italy

Posted on Feb, 28. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

We have been focusing on the Piedmont a lot lately and I must admit the passions of Michael Davis and Kevin Sidders for these wines have made a devotee of me. Before I became a big fan of Piedmont and was introduced to the reasonably priced wines of that region, I spent a lot of time looking for great wine in the Eastern part of Northern Italy. The Austrio-Italian boarder region of Alto Adige has always been a viticultural place of interest combining the craftsmanship of Austrian wine making and their style for complex, laser precise acidities with the Prince and Pauper voluptuousness of Italian wines, regal and yet often at home as the comfort food of wine.

I requested some samples of wines from this region last week. All of the wines were excellent but it is a difficult flavor profile to sell. Not everyone likes medium to light bodied red wines with great acidity and the sort of bright fruit types one gets from ripening in the Mountainous regions of the world. I suppose it is exactly this type of wine that gets called esoteric and I am always conscious of offering too many of this type of wine out even though it is often my personal preference.

Luckily there was a mad little bridge gapper in the lot, the only indigenous grape from the line up, the 2006 Alois Lageder, Lagrein. I wanted to give a reference for the flavor profile of the Lagrein grape as I am sure not many are familiar with it. My guess after tasting it was that it must be related to Pinot Noir and after a quick web search my suspicion was confirmed. So there is your jumping off point, now start to think more like a Malbec. Meaty and juicy, inherently competent of intense tannic strength not unsimilar in fruit types but this wine, in particular, is made for elegance, it is smooth and refined – body and lightness at once.

Overall this is a wine about deliciousness. As a side note it is interesting that this estate is also producing much of their wine Biodynamically and striving to convert the entire operation that way. It shows in the basic naturalness of the Lagrein and it is pleasant when a wine can achieve deliciousness like this without gimmick.

Smooth and full in the glass and mouth feel, present from beginning to end end, weighty and yet precise. I highly recommend this wine to all palate types. You foodies will know exactly what I mean when I say this is the perfect Filet wine but perhaps not a Strip or Ribeye wine. Other than that it is perfect with almost any other food, Evan and I had it with a vegetable lasagna and fought to keep the bottle away from the other guests.

Final Note: If you are into Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo you must try this as it is an important flavor member of that family and a stunning wine in its own right. At under $20 this is a top level Lagrein and the QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) comparison is dramatic. Meaning I would so much rather have this top Lagrein than a basic Bourgogne at the same price. Also, the bit of bottle age here (certainly from lack of movement due to folks not knowing what it is) shows and brings another level to the wine.

2006 Alois Lageder, Lagrein
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $18.34 • Premier Cru: $19.17 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $25.00
Buy Now!

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