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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some Lagrein Wines - March 10, 2014

We tasted last night (3/10/14) w/ my SantaFe group Some Lagreins:

  1. Ansitz Waldgries DOC: Sudtoroler Lagrein (13%; www.waldgries.it) Heinrich Plattner/StJustina/ Bozel/Bolzano 2005: Dark color w/ slight bricking; strong plummy/black cherry bit licorice some earthy/dusty/smokey nose; soft fairly lush bit dried out strong plummy/black cherry flavor w/ light drying tannins; med.long soft bit tangy rather plummy/black cherry finish w/ light/astringent tannins; quite a good Lagrein for the price but starting to dry out and shows a little tired. $13.00 (K&L)
  2. Marco Donati Lagrein rubina FratteAlte DOC Trentino (13%; www.imports-inc.com/donati.html) 2002: Dark color w/ light bricking; brighter cherry/black cherry/framboise slight plummy bit funky/wet wool nose; soft/smooth bright cherry/black cherry/licorice slight wet wool/army blanket flavor w/ slight tannic bite; med.long bright cherry/black cherry/plummy/licorice finish w/ slight tannic bite; a good condition for 10+ yrs and plenty of bright fruit; very nice rendition of Lagrein at a great price. $17.00 (WE/SM)
  3. Niedermayer DOC: Lagrein Gries Blacedelle/AltoAdige (13%; www.niedermayr.it) 2007: Dark color; bit reduced/ pungent slight plummy/licorice rather earthy slight cold-climate Syrah/peppery somewhat complex lovely nose; rather tart/sour pungent/licorice/reduced somewhat plummy/black cherry cola/spicy some earthy flavor w/ light/ smooth tannins; slight pickle-juce/volatile strong ripe/plummy/black cherry cola slight earthy/dusty finish w/light/round tannins; lots of ripe fruit and a bit Calif in style but a very good Lagrein at a great price. $18.00 (WoP)
  4. Abbazia di Novacella DOC: Lagrein/AltoAdige (13%; www.abbazianovacella.it) 2010: Very dark color; strong black cherry/plummy/licorice/pungent lovely almost Syrah-like/boysenberry ripe fruit nose; bit toasty/oak/modern strong plummy/blackberry/licorice/Syrah-like very slight earthy flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long soft/lush some toasty/oak ripe/lush/plummy/blackberry/boysenberry/Syrah-like/big fruit finish w/ light/soft tannins; rather like an Calif or Oz Syrah and not to expressive of AA-terroir; delicious Lagrein. $26.00 (BWM)
  5. AndreasBerger Thurnhof DOC: Merlan Lagrein Sudtirol (12.5%; www.OMWines.com; www.waldgries.it/) 2005: Very dark color w/ slight bricking; bit aged/complex/mature light plummy/Lag slight old Bdx/cedary nose; soft rather light/smooth/complex very polished/old-Bdx light plummy flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; long light/cedary/old-Bdx/complex slight tangy/mineral/earthy light plummy/Lag finish w/ smooth/polished tannins; starting to dry out just a bit but a lovely example of a fully mature Lagrein at a great price. $18.00 (K&L)
  6. AndreasBerger Thurnhof DOC: Lagrein Merlan (13%) Bolzano; OliverMcCrumWines 2008: Very dark color; pungent bit herbal/wet forest/pungent/smokey rather lush/plummy/black cherry/Lag lovely nose; soft/rich/lush bit herbal/wet forest/pungent some plummy/black cherry/licorice slightly sour complex/lovely flavor w/ some light/hard tannins; very long bit herbal/rosemary/pungent strong plummy/licorice/black cherry cola light earthy/mineral finish w/ light/hard tannins; needs several yrs yet; quite an interesting/exotic/complex Lagrein at a great price. $22.00 (K&L)
  7. J.Hofstatter DOC: Lagrein/AltoAdige (13%; www.hofstatter.com/en) 2005: Dark color w/ some bricking; very strong plummy/black cherry/cola/licorice/chocolaty/ripe some mineral/smokey/graphite/bit reductive complex nose; bit tart/slight astringent/dried-out bit funky/wet-wool some black cherry/licorice/cola somewhat tangy flavor w/ light/drying/astringent tannins; med.long bit earthy/mineral/graphite/rustic some black cherry/licorice/Lag finish w/ light/drying tannins; starting to show signs of age and drying out a bit, but an attractive bit rustic example of Lagrein. $27.00 (MW/SPas)
  8. JosephMayr Weingut Erbhof Unterganzer Lagrein DOC: Sudtiroler Riserva (13%; www.tirolensisarsvini.it) 2002: Very dark color w/ little bricking; light toasty/oak strong boysenberry/ black cherry/bing cherry/licorice/pungent bit peppery/blackberry/Syrah-like lovely complex perfumed nose; soft pungent/smokey/licorice ripe/black cherry/plummy/licorice somewhat peppery/Syrah-like flavor w/ light/smooth tannins; very long ripe/boysenberry/black cherry/licorice/Lag some peppery/blackberry/Syrah-like bit smokey/oak/toasty finish w/light/smooth/plush tannins; rather a modern-style Lagrein w/o the earthy/rustic/mineral character that most AA Lagreins show; showing no signs of its age; quite a delicious wine at a very fair price. $32.00 (K&L)
  9. Berger-Gei DOC: Sudtiroler Lagrein Gries (14%; www.fws.it/en/weingut-niedrist/) Ignaz Niedrist/Girlan/Eppan 2004: Dark color w/ slight bricking; strong plummy/blackberry/boysenberry/black cherry cola bit ripe/chocolaty light pungent/licorice/earthy very youthful/ripe nose; soft bit herbal/thyme strong plummy/black cherry/noysenberry/licorice slight pungent/earthy big fruit/youthful flavor w/ light/ripe tannins; very long rich/ripe/chocolaty/licorice/pungent strong plummy/black cherry slight earthy some complex finish w/ light/ripe/soft tannins; lots of ripe Lagrein fruit and showing no signs of its age; a bit of a modern style w/some classic Lagrein earthiness; very fairly priced at $30.00 (K&L)
  10. Kellerei Cantina Terlan Porphyr DOC: AltoAdige LagreinRiserva (13.5%; www.cantina-terlano.com/en/) 2004: Very dark color w/ slight bricking; bit alcoholic ripe/lush/chocolaty/plummy/black cherry/boysenberry slight herbal/earthy/dusty beautiful/ripe nose; bit soft huge fruit/blackberry/ boysenberry/black cherry cola very lush/ripe flavor w/ soft/smooth tannins; very long/lingering big fruit/boysenberry/black cherry cola/root beer/spicy slight earthy/mineral finish w/ light/firm/round tannins; amazingly youthful and not as terroir-experessive as some others; this is how they'd make Lagrein in Calif if they could; showing no signs of its age; my favorite of these Lagreins. $39.00 (vLA)
  11. Abtei Muri DOC: Sudtirol Lagrein Scuro Riserva (13%; www.muri-gries.com/en/home.html) Cantina Convento Muri-Gries/Bolzano 2001: Very dark color w/ little bricking; some plummy/black cherry bit cedary/old Bdx slight funky/wet wool rather complex low-key/quiet nose; soft/smooth light plummy/black cherry bit old Bdx/mature slight wet wool/smoked meats bit metallic/tangy quite/gentle rather complex flavor w/ light/smooth/quiet tannins; very long light cedary/old-Bdx some plummy/black cherry bit smoked meats/tangy/metallic finish w/graceful/gentle tannins; amazingly youthful and showing no signs of falling apart; a lovely/mature quiet/gentle Lagrein. $40.00 (K&L)
  12. Harrington Lagrein BerardoVnyd/PasoRobles (14.2%; 31 cs) 2012: Very dark/black color; intense plummy/chocolaty/boysenberry bit Paso/jammy slight vinyl/new linoleum some toasty/smokey/oak quite perfumey/aromatic nose; soft very rich/lush ripe/jammy/boysenberry/chocolaty/licorice slight pungent/earthy/spicy slight toasty/oak intense/ perfumed flavor w/ some ripe/plush tannins; very long/lingering very ripe/jammy/boysenberry/black cherry cola/licorice/chocolaty light toasty/oak finish w/ some soft/round tannins; lacking a bit in structure/acid and not quite as interesting as the AA Lagreins but speaks of Lagrein and huge fruit some like a Jaffurs PS; lovely wine at a great price and should age well for 4-6 yrs. $25.00
  13. CasaVinironia Appassimento EdizioneOro VinoRosso (Vino Proveniente da Uve Passite; 14.5%; Corvina; off-dry) Fossalta di Piave/Veneto 2012: Very dark color; very ripe/grapey/licorice/boysenberry slight alcoholic bit coffee/meaty/earthy rather exoric nose; rather soft some tannic slightly off-dry very grapey/floral/boysenberry slight herbal/dried basil/rose petal some overripe/grapey rather complex flavor; very long slight off-dry very grapey/boysenberry/floral/RCCola/spicy bit overripe/alcoholic finish w/ light hard/bitey tannins; a pretty exotic red a bit like an Amarone, a bit like some of the LatePick Zins in the '70's; quite an interesting red. $24.00 (WE)

And the usual stuff from the BloodyPulpit:

1. Some Lagrein tidbits:
Mostly grown in the AltoAdige/Sudtirol & Trentino regions of Italy.
Lagrein <---- Teroldego X ?? A natural cross, probably in the Trentino region.
A sibling of Marzemino
A niece/nephew of Dureza (one parent of Syrah), so a cousin of Syrah
A grandchild of Pinot
Often blended in the AltoAdige w/ SchiavaGrossa. The most well-known is St.Magdalener
Lagrein Dunkel or Lagrein Scuro: The darker (rosso) version of Lagrein, used interchangeably.
Dunkel is German for "dark". Scuro is Italian for "dark, deep, sombre, swarthy"
Lagrein Kretzer (German): The rose version of Lagrein. Also called Lagrein Rosato (Italian).
Old plantings are usually on a pergola trellis (maximizes leaf exposure to the sun, giving better
photosynthesis). Newer plantings are on a Guyot trellis (easier to maintain, good sun exposure).
Wineries Imported to US: www.altoadigewinesusa.com/alto-adige-wineries/ Some fabulous pics on many of their WebSites. This is truly heroic viticulture up there.
2. Harrington: BryanHarrington has made Lagrein from JohnBerardo's PasoRobles vnyd for several yrs now. Easily the best Lagrein being made in Calif. Alas, the vnyd is being sold and he'll probably no longer get these grapes. The Harrington was served as a mystery wine. No one guessed it to be a Lagrein. Most thought it to be a Calif PetiteSirah, which is a pretty good guess, given the softness on the palate & color.
3. Lagrein: This variety from the AltoAdige & Trentino has long been a favorite of mine. This selection was easily the best tableau of Lagreins I've ever tasted. The wines remind me a lot of Teroldego w/ their plummy/black cherry character, often w/ a dusty/earthy/mineral character and sometimes a bit of rusticity. And they're usually very attractively priced as well. This was some of the older Lagreins I've tried and I was impresed how well most of them are aging. After the Porphyr, my favorites were the Thrunhof (an import of OliverMcCrum), the Mayr, and the Berger-Gei. Truly one of Italy's great reds and well below most folks radars.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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