There are so many different and beautiful wines in Italy, blink and you could miss one.
This is what happened to me recently after a spate of Italian tastings in London.
It wasn’t until I looked back over my notes, I started to see a pattern emerging: 100% Lagrein.
A red wine from Alto Adige, an area up in the Italo-Swiss border, which in my mind, is associated with super-Alpine-bright white wines and Pinot Nero. Yet this peculiar red wine came up winning in tastings time and again. Why?
This is a convergence of two style popular at the moment: one style is about powerful, heavy reds and the other is the mineral, lean style. What is different about Lagrein is the two styles do not fight but, instead, meet in the middle for a big, friendly, delicious hug! The Lagrein grape is genetically related to Teroldego, Syrah and Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero). There is a look and perfume of a big wine but there is a leanness on the palate, especially if the tannins and structure are there. What about the actual wines?
2007 Lagrein Riserva Abtei Muri DOC from Muri Gries Wine Estate/Monastery Cellar in Alto Adige is big and spicy with strong tannins, but has great inner pillowy softness, and wicked dark purple glints as if winking at you to say, great things lie ahead this evening….
Bottega Vinai Lagrein Dunkel from Cavit is from Trentino and at first glance it appears to be a monster wine with dark colour and medicinal nose. This is no Alpine Yeti, but is soft and silky, and something I could quite happily curl up with now the weather is cooling down.
However 100% Lagrein, like other Alpine beasts, can be – blink and you’ll miss it. Keep your eyes peeled!