The Lagrein grape is most at home in Austria and the bordering Alto Adige region of northern Italy. The wines are not well known here in the US, and production is small. Lagrein produces a very intense red color, with hues of purple and notes of sour cherry that are the wine's hallmark. The Adrian Rubeno enjoys a high-toned fragrance of cranberry, red currant and pomegranate combined with a stony minerality. Juicy with lush, red fruits, it has a pleasing weight on the mid-palate, lovely round tannins and is loaded with exotic notes of hibiscus, rose hip, Indian spice, charcoal and dark berry. The long length is memorable, ending on an interesting note of loganberry.
Cranberry, pomegranate, red currant, charcoal, hibiscus, rosehip, anise and white peach.
Cantina Andriano was founded in 1893 and was the first cooperative in Alto Adige. The vineyards are unique to the area because they are protected to the west by Mount Gantkofel, which is made of dolomite rock and calcareous stone. The sedimentary rock from this peak over the years has eroded and settled forming a downward sloping hill of deposited soil at the base of this valley that expands like a fan from the mouth of the valley creating a unique terroir. This fertile calcareous clay soil is typical of the area and leaves its footprint in the wine's character. The vineyards see the sun from early morning to mid afternoon. These cooler climatic conditions with respect to other areas in Alto Adige are responsible for the crisp acidity in the wines that give them their unique complexity and freshness.
I love Lagreins, which pair well with a variety of meats and cheeses. What really sets the Andrian apart is the lovely balance and depth that it shows. I want to play off the wine's full-bodied richness with my Venetian Sausage Bites, which are terrific little bites of goodness. The sweet Italian sausage finished with a little balsamic vinegar reduced to a syrupy sweet consistency will be perfect! These are great to serve at a cocktail party and will turn all your friends onto this wonderful varietal. Want something a little more substantial? Try my Veal Milanese with Salsa Rosa.
The Lagrein varietal may not be well known but is recognized as one of the oldest in the Southern Tyrol.