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Surprise, surprise!

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Surprise, surprise!
In the boonies where I live, (the Taconic Hills near the MA border), wine choices are limited; with few exceptions, the local liquor stores offer too many low-to-medium priced bottles of slop, coming from every corner of the world, plus a smattering of overpriced bottles of the supposedly “better” stuff.
Possibly because the USA is supposed to be a classless, democratic Country, you can easily find a 20 year old Château Lafite standing (yes, standing!) only inches away from a gallon jug of California “Chianti”, on the same shelf, at room temperature (varying from 50°F in Summer, to 80°F inWinter) or in the same refrigerator were prosecco, asti spumante and lambrusco (lower case intentional) are kept at 32.3°F or thereabout.
Fortunately there are a few stores where wine is given some of the respect it deserves! in one of them I discovered a grape (Lagrein) and a winemaker (Erste+Neue), unknown to me until a few days ago.
Most of you know that I am no expert or connoisseur; my love for wine is expressed mostly in impulsive, intuitive or emotional ways; my expertise is based mainly on a long career of mistakes and on the advice of a few, but very good and knowledgeable friends (mostly on twitter).
Also: I am not that good at describing the wines I like in the sophisticated lingo full of botanical and olfactory references favored by most experts. To be blunt: I am uncomfortably close to the enological equivalent of “Joe Six-pack”.
So, if you want to read about tannins and acidity, fragrance of berries and horse sweat, long nose or impact on the left-rear quadrant of the palate -well - you are wasting your time; no hard feelings, I hope.

However, I DO know what I like when I taste it. Entirely out of curiosity, I purchased my very first bottle of Erste+Neue, 2010 Lagrein, and drank it within an hour with an ho-hum meal, sharing it with friends (usually unenthusiastic about wine), who this time raved about the wine as much as I did. Two days later I was back to buy a second one; often I prefer to choose or cook the food according to the wine, rather than the other way around, so I decided to prepare a very tasty risotto, to honor an exceptional wine.
My culinary efforts were rewarded with pleasant results but, frankly, I think a nice roast pork with sauerkraut or a good boeuf bourguignon, would have been a more adequate pairing for a wine so elegantly robust, although barely one year old!
I would really like to find out what this Lagrein would taste in, say, 2015. Alas! I know that no bottle can possibly survive my basest instincts that long.
Perhaps some of you readers, who do not yet know this wine, might be willing to taste it and share your opinion about your first bottle?
And would you also let us know how long you were able to keep the second one corked? **

** BTW, even the cork was impressive; the inscription on it - “il punto giusto” (the right point) - made me wonder if perhaps these folks do not care much about the wine rating points system? If so, good for them!  
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#3 Commenti

  • Joel Mack

    Joel Mack

    Hi Gianni ! I happen to appreciate Lagrein and will keep an eye out for Erste + Neue. BTW, casting my vote for the roast pork and sauerkraut ;-) Great post !

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  • Filippo Ronco

    Filippo Ronco

    Great post Gian.
    Some other Lagrein you should absolutely taste:

    - Lagrein Dunkel Riserva - Josephus Mayr (Maso Unterganzner)
    - Lagrein Dunkel Riserva - Einrich Mayr (yes, they're almost all Mayr there..)
    - Lagrein Fliederhod (Stefan Ramoser)
    - Lagrein Riserva - Abtei Muri-Gries

    These are some of my favourite ever!

    Cheers, Fil.

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  • Silvia Pozzi

    Silvia Pozzi

    Ciao zio Gianni, anche io come te sono un'impulsiva e genuina bevitrice di vino (apposta non scrivo appassionata, estimatrice, cultrice né altro).
    Per il mio compleanno, che cade in estate, cercavo dei vini "tosti" che reggessero il menu dell'aperitivo con gli amici: pomodori e vaghi richiami tex-mex (???!!! massììì), insomma cucina un po' speziata. Ci siamo orientati su vini siciliani ma poi mi sono imbattuta in questo LAGREIN ROSATO Letrari, che era uno spettacolo.

    www.letrari.it
    Wine made from short maceration on the skins of Lagrein grapes, it has a cherry red color and a unique fruity aroma, with flavors of cherry and strawberry.

    Dry, fresh and fragrant taste. Perfect for hot and cold appetizers, fish soups, white meats and salami.

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