This is the first post of a new series I’m starting on oddball wines. I thought I’d start in Italy, which is full of indigenous grape varieties that are produced in a small region and hardly anywhere else. This is one of those: Lagrein. Have you ever had one? Ever heard of it?
La Vis Dipinti Lagrein 2007
Producer: La Vis
Grapes: Lagrein. La-what? It’s a red grape variety from the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy that is related to Teroldego. It’s pronounced Lah-GRAYN (hear it here).
Appellation: DOC Trentino, in northeastern Italy up near the Austrian border. Thirty years ago, red wines accounted for 80% of Trentino’s vineyard land, but today it’s down to 40%, with Merlot being the most common red grape (Chardonnay is the most planted white). However, the indigenous grapes are hanging on. [Info from The World Atlas of Wine.]
Winemaking: Spends only 2 months in oak.
Price: $11.77 at Spec’s in Austin
My tasting notes: Dark color, though not opaque. I get dusty plum and cherry fruit on the nose, with a substantial Old World swampy/barnyardy stink. There’s something a bit wild to the fruit aromas, too. Interesting. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied and starts off sharp and angular (though not necessarily in a bad way), with under-ripe raspberry flavors, light minerality and grippy tannins. A cranberry tartness and prickly acidity linger on the finish. I came back to this wine after it was open for about 48 hours and it was drinking very nicely. The acidity and tannins had softened a bit and the fruit was more evident on the palate. It paired well with a sausage, kale and white bean soup.
Overall impression: Not straight-up delicious, but really interesting and food-friendly. Worth it just for the geek-cred you’ll earn for trying this uncommon grape variety. B
Tech sheet, which doesn’t state the vintage, so assume the specs are approximate.
Gary Vaynerchuk did a WLTV episode on Lagrein wines (though not this bottle).
Apparently, outside of Trentino-Alto Adige, Lagrein has developed a small foothold in Australia. And there is also an Oregon winery (with an Aussie winemaker), Amaranth Ridge, that is growing some. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
Another blogger’s review at Melodic Fermentables.