Nonchalantly directing my lovestruck eyes back over to that ever-so-amazing boot, here is yet another Italian splendor to swoon over. Native to the land, Lagrein is ruby red treasure nestled in the mountainous terrain of northeast Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige. Not too young and not too old, mention of this particular grape can be traced back to as early as the 17th century in records of the Muri Benedictine monastery in Alto Adige.
As this land was semi-recently Red Rover’d to Italy post WWI, the German language still heavily dictates over the area. With its parameters border lining the Austrian Tyrol, the locals still refer to the area as Südtirol, translating to South Tyrol.
So back to the actual grape…Lagrein is a deep colored grape that burgeons well in this region’s Alpine-continental climate and primitive soils of quartz, limestone, sandy marl, and calcareous clay. The multifarious pieces to this intricate puzzle form together to create wines that are high in both acidity and tannin with bright fruit and savory characteristics. A varietal that has the grace and poise of a sophisticated lady with the mysterious dark side of a seductress… Gentlemen…if wine were human, you’ve just met your dream girl.
Here were my thoughts on a few that I’ve tasted recently…
2010 Tiefenbrunner Lagrein
A spicy little number this one is with its invigorating bouquet of freshly baked gingerbread and cinnamon. Inky in color with velvety tannins and youthful acidity, this kick-in-the-mouth wine bombards the palate with notes of violet, blueberry turnover, red chili pepper, volcanic smokiness, minerality and a powdery finish.
Fruity, spicy, and savory- just like Christmas in a bottle. This deep colored wine expresses aromas of roast pork, cocoa powder and dried coconut. Still blazing in acidity while smoothing out in tannin, the palate is presented with the gifts of black cherry, blackcurrant, allspice, nutmeg, dark chocolate, savory meat, and cola on the finish.
Pollyanna meets Rebel Without a Cause. This wine starts off prim and proper with a perfume of blackberry, blueberry, and pink rose petals. Onto the palate, this little rebel gives that perfume an edge with bold tartness, spicy cloves, a full body and robust structure. Pollyanna returns to win you back with the elegantly integrated tannin and creamy hints of malolactic fermentation.