Ahhhh Lagrein… where alpine snow meets Italian warmth, creating a black, dense wine: cold at its core and sunny in its concentration. Dark, dark ruby with a bright purple rim, nose headed stemmy and tomato-vine with definite poopy barnyard, but papaya and avocado-pulp at the round center. The pits of plum and peach are ground finely to a woody extent, neutral barrel taking this nuance and running with it into deep, tiny, green-berry woods. Lasciviously fruited, a savory film on the icy countenance. But then you taste it.
What’s the oldest Lagrein you’ve ever had? I have to say probably a decade for me, but something tells me they could last FARRRR longer. Has anyone ever had a 20 or 30 YO Lagrein? I mean: the tannins are not offensive–actually quite mellow–at least on this one, and it seems fairly typical to me. There’s an acidic crispness to the finish, of course, and the fruit is classic teeth-flossing grit and grate, packed with berry and you can almost TASTE the sediment. Or what would eventually be sediment. But it’s not a big tannic monster like it often gets painted. It’s a lot like Corvina its southern neighbor or Aglianico even further south in an almost Chinon or Gamay vibrancy just turned up a few concentrated notches. Thick blackberry dances around a steely pole, fresh-cut grass and garden hose providing the funky back-beat.
What an absolutely mind-numbing delicious wine. While the 99 will find oddities everywhere except for their moth-to-a-light fascination with ridiculous black concentration (and California producers of this variety LOVE to emphasize this aspect of the variety–for obvious marketing reasons), there is NOTHING for the 1% not to love.
2018 ELENA WALCH Lagrein Alto Adige Italy 13.5