September Wine Letter: Lagrein-Tasting

Renaissance of the original South Tyrolean dark red wine
The original vine, from which Teroldego and Lagrein, the two most powerful red wine brothers of our region, stem, has not yet been found. The chicken? Or the egg? Which came first? Our Trentino cousins refer to an enological study carried out at their San Michele educational institution, according to which, Lagrein descends from Teroldego. But even Trentino master cellarmen say that's a local patriotic hypothesis. After all, we can refer to the first documented mention of a Lagrein - anno 1379, (unclear as to whether a white or a dark L. is meant) - four years older than the first appearance of the word Teroldego (in a text from 1383). 4 years here or there: let's say that Teroldego and Lagrein are brothers, two identical twins, so that the master cellarmen from Piana Rotaliana and Gries, Auer and other small Lagrein vineyards can best live side by side. The VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol wine letter in September is dedicated to the original South Tyrolean wine variety Lagrein!
"Lagrein used to be our wine cellar medicine," says Toni Rottensteiner, senior manager of the Rottensteiner Bolzano Winery, "we used it to correct or cure other plants. At best, we pressed it off as a rosé and named it Kretzer - after the so-called strainer basket, the "Krätze" used in the past to catch the solid grape components after 1 to 3 days of fermentation. We discovered it in its red wine format only 15 to 20 years ago". Just as the city of Bordeaux slowly devours its best vineyards, the best sites with loose, sandy alluvial soils in the Bolzano basin are also falling victim to urbanisation. This is why the Lagrein cultivation area - despite its great international success over the last two decades - is unfortunately in constant decline.

In the late 1980s, domestic and foreign wine writers set out for new, completely unexplored shores - they were looking for "naked", original, practically undescribed wines. The dark South Tyrolean Lagrein variety stood out in particular! This inspired South Tyrolean winegrowers and master cellarmen to cultivate Lagrein. They reduced its yield in the vineyards and in the cellars, they engaged in controlled fermentation methods and partial maturing in small French oak barrels as carefully as the world varieties of Cabernet and Merlot. In 1997, South Tyrolean Lagrein Dunkel Riserva - "Prestige Line" from the Gries cellar cooperative - was the first Lagrein to receive "3 glasses" in the Italian wine guide "Gambero Rosso". Since then, awards and high ratings have been frequent at Lagrein comparative tastings. "Fruits of the forest, blueberries, raspberries, the fruit itself is concentrated and full-bodied" enthused the Sicilian wine author Nino Aiello. Lagrein was given a variety profile that could have come from a minstrel: the powerful scent of cocoa, dark chocolate and crushed ripe elderberries. Firm, juicy tannins, rich and toned in the mouth, reminiscent of black berries, liquorice, dark cherries; long-lasting on the palate, good length.

Within VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol, the South Tyrolean wine industry has found a congenial partner, not only to protect the original South Tyrolean Lagrein wine in the best way possible, but also that the wine be served elegantly in their wine shops. Santé! To your well-being!
The VINUM-Hotel - October Wine Letter:
Naturns Riesling Days - phenomenal white wines with alpine fine aromas

The highlight of the autumn gourmet season in Vinschgau, South Tyrol are the Naturns Riesling Days offering gala menus, Riesling tasting menus, tastings of the best national and international Riesling wines, wine tastings at reputed winegrowers and wine tours of the best wineries in South Tyrol as well as guided tours at local Riesling wine estates. This itinerary leaves nothing to be desired. Taste buds can delight in award-winning cuisine and in a 4-star ambience. Local Riesling vintners, the Unterortl/Juval Winery and the Falkenstein Winery open up their cellars to the public. Guests of VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol can taste wines ripened on the sunny slopes above Naturns.
The VINUM-Hotels South Tyrol October wine letter is dedicated to the celebrated Naturns Riesling Days!