I continue to tell you my Vinitaly 2022 with a very nice tasting that was actually longer than what I am about to tell you, but I decided to cut the article dedicated to the Kellerei Bozen dedicating it to Lagrein Alto Adige DOC because I have never written a piece on wines made from this grape variety in purity. Thinking about it is strange because it is a grape variety that I literally adore, just as I adore Bolzano madly! I remember wonderful days chasing sparkling wines, on my usual bench in front of the beautiful Mareccio Castle, writing while drinking cappuccino bathed in cocoa! Do you know that when I decided to move to the lake I was undecided between Lake Iseo and Lake Braies? It's a pity that the pile-dwelling where the boats are rented in Braies was not for sale... here's a photo from those days (which made me think, what an uncomfortable iPad and keyboard... thank you Apple for creating the Magic Keyboard!)

Bolzano kellerei bozen

Curious because even though six years have now passed since that photo was taken, my life - professionally speaking - is still the same: I am always on the hunt for extraordinary wines and then writing about them in the midst of nature! But now back to our Lagrein... if I have to tell you what I like about this grape variety, I would probably choose its olfactory and taste-olfactory envelopment. The nose is very distinctive, hard not to recognise it even after a passage in wood. In the mouth it has a very present acidity, but always dosed by an overall softness and a drinkability that does not tire. Cantina Produttori di Bolzano o Kellerei Bozen is a winery that has placed great emphasis on Lagrein wine, so much so that the dear Daniele Galler managed to let me taste no less than six different ones and I must say that I liked them all! I also learnt that Gries is the most suitable area for this grape variety and in fact when I compared the two selections I really felt the difference with the same vinification. My favourite? Definitely the Taber... I could drink one bottle after another!!!

Kellerei bozen lagrein wine

Kellerei Bozen: Lagrein Classic Line 2021 Alto Adige DOC, 13.5%vol

The grapes come from various winegrowers around Bolzano and Gries to whom the winery provides continuous agronomic advice. Vinification only takes place in stainless steel and ageing takes place in the bottle.

My tasting. It is concentrated purplish red and barely transparent, consistent. The nose is fine and distinctive with vinous notes and a succession of violets, mulberry and a barely hinted at roasted cocoa bean. In the mouth it is consistent, fresh, with a rather pronounced acidic vein, but still quite rounded. Pleasant and long sip.

Kellerei bozen lagrein wine

Kellerei Bozen: Perl Lagrain Linea Selezione 2020 Alto Adige DOC 13.5%vol

Vinification takes place only in steel, while ageing takes place first in 50-hectolitre oak barrels, then in bottles.

My tasting. It is concentrated purplish red and barely transparent, consistent. The nose is always fine and characteristic, the wood enhances the roasted notes already characteristic of the variety and the cocoa beans and coffee powder become more intense. In the mouth it is very tannic, very fresh, structured and warm with a long cocoa finish.

Kellerei bozen lagrein perl wine

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Kellerei Bozen: Baron Carl Eyrl Lagrain aus Gries Linea Selezione 2020 Alto Adige DOC, 13.5%vol

Vinification only takes place in steel, while ageing takes place first in 50 hectolitre oak barrels, then in bottles. The difference with Perl is only the origin of the grapes, which in this case come from Gries, the most suitable area.

My tasting. It is a concentrated and almost impenetrable purplish red, consistent. The nose is more toasty than Perl and, although it retains the vinous and fruity notes characteristic of the grape variety, these take second place to the toastiness and spiciness, which are also characteristic of the grape variety. Lastly, a black cherry, both fresh and jammy, appears. In the mouth it is very elegant, very soft, very fresh and with a completely different, more amalgamated tannin. Long finish.

Lagrein has a number of characteristic notes ranging from vinous to spicy and, depending on the soil (since the vinification is identical), more of the former or more of the latter come out. The soils of Gries give more space to the spicy and toasty character of the grape variety. What I liked - which I also found in the other wines tasted - is a very skilful use of the barrel that enhances the primary aromas without covering them up.

Kellerei bozen lagrein wine collection

Kellerei Bozen: Lagrain Prestige Riserva 2019 Alto Adige DOC, 13.5%vol

The best grapes from vineyards around Gries are vinified in wooden barrels and matured in both French oak barriques and large barrels for one year. Maturation continues a few months in steel and then in the bottle.

My tasting. It is intense ruby red with violet hues and almost impenetrable, consistent. The nose is more like Perl with vinous and fruity notes that are enriched with dark chocolate and coffee extracted in the siphon and fade into vanilla. In the mouth it is very soft, but also very tannic, a tannin that does not astringent, but rather tingling, and structured. Long finish of black cherry and coffee.

Kellerei bozen lagrein reserve prestige wine

Kellerei Bozen: Lagrein Taber Riserva 2018 Alto Adige DOC 14%vol

The best grapes from an over 80-year-old vineyard in the surroundings of Gries are vinified in wooden barrels and matured in both French oak barriques and large barrels for one year. Maturation continues a few months in steel and then in the bottle.

My tasting. It is ruby red with violet hues, almost impenetrable and consistent. The nose has aromas of sweet spices - vanilla and cinnamon - dancing with fruity notes of fresh morello cherry, violets and a hint of truffle, chocolate. In the mouth it is soft, tannic but with its own well-blended and elegant tannin, very structured and consistent, fine. Long finish.

Kellerei Bozen Lagrein Riserva Taber wine

Kellerei Bozen: Prestige Line - Lagrein Dunkel Grieser Riserva 2001 Alto Adige DOC, 13%

My tasting. It is ruby red with garnet hues at the edges, impenetrable, concentrated and consistent. On the nose all the tertiary truffles coffee, leather, black pepper, incense come out. On the palate it is soft, consistent, still quite fresh and rich with notes of coffee and even a hint of liquorice root that is also found on the finish.

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Kellerei Bozen Lagrein Riserva dunkel wine

I could have told you that "Stegher' Chardonnay Reserve 2019 is fantastic, but I preferred to focus on a single-varietal article because it is rare to be able to do a tasting of this kind with all the wines from the same winery. Thank you Daniele also for opening the old vintage, it was my first Lagrein with so much time on its shoulders.

I still have a lot to learn about this grape variety, but this tasting confirmed something I have always known: Lagrein Alto Adige DOC is a crazy red wine, and although it is certainly not an 'easy' wine suited, let's say, to a certain flattening of the average consumer's taste imposed by the markets, it is a wine with the potential to be noticed by an educated public that could bring it to new heights. Who likes Lagrein wine? I find similarities with Dolcetto d'Alba, also concentrated, vinous and with great freshness, but rounder and less tannic than, for example, the neighbouring Nebbiolo.

Because we like international grape varieties, but our indigenous varieties, if worked well, are also a lot of stuff.

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

PS What do you think of Lagrein? Are you familiar with this grape variety? What are your favourites? Leave me a comment on the blog to talk about it together!

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