There's a spicy edge to the sandalwood-tinged scents of black cherries and huckleberry that emerge from this aromatic red. Supple and sultry, the wine has a medium-bodied palate that coats the mouth with layers of spicy black cherry, purple plum and boysenberry. Notes of leather, cedar and cola nut add complexity, leading to a terrific finish.
Black cherry, huckleberry, purple plum, leather and cedar.
Alto Adige lies in northern Italy between the Dolomite foothills and the Southern Alps, where the mountainous terrain and cool temperatures yield wines of particular intensity. Lagrein, a red grape native to these stunning valleys, is rarely grown outside of northern Italy and over the millennia has adapted perfectly to the region's volcanic soils, which are unusually acidic and mineral-rich. Lagrein is high in acidity and somewhat tannic. This example from Cantina Cortaccia, with its unusually smooth tannins and lots of juicy, berry-rich fruit flavors, is a superb introduction to the varietal. Cantina Cortaccia is a cooperative made up of many small growers that bring precision to both their viticulture and their winemaking. A broad array of mountain and valley vineyard sources allows them to combine creamy suppleness with penetrating focus. By placing an emphasis on reducing yields and producing more concentrated, flavorful wines, the group has carefully honed an international reputation for consistency and quality.
Lagrein is delicious served with meats like chicken, pork and veal, especially when complemented by pungent herbs such as rosemary and thyme, or spices like ginger, mustard and fennel seed. Fresh pasta with a meaty ragu will be wonderful with this wine, whose acidity will counter that of the tomatoes. Other pairing options include herb-flecked meat loaf, meat-stuffed ravioli or rabbit braised in a traditional mustard sauce. Then again, you could make my flavorful Chicken alla Vendemia.
Lagrein is a lot tastier than it sounds!