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the wines of Alois Lageder, Italy

by Tom Cannavan, 06/05

Alois Lageder' family has owned this estate for 150 years, their vineyards lying in the Southern Tyrol region of Alto Adige, high against the Austrian border in the northeast of Italy. A number of Germanic varieties are grown - Riesling, Geüurztraminer, Müller-Thurgau - as well as Italian varieties like Pinot Grigio and Moscato, and a smattering of more International varieties like Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. But there are red wine varieties too, including the native Lagrein and Schiava, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

It has always struck me that Lageder's wines are about harmony; blending purity of fruit and concentration, with restraint and subtlety. In essence, that is an attempt to capturing the delicacy, yet vibrancy of these northerly vineyards. Though not organic, the estate favours compost over artificial fertilisers, and practises an "integrated agriculture” in the interest of long-term environmental protection.

white wines

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio 'Riff' 2004
Lovely stuff, with a whiff of nettle and even petrol, before cream and a gentle clean pear fruit. Soft touch of honey. On the palate this has crisp, well-defined fruit, with a tantalising clarity. Lots of crisp apple and pear and a clean mineral acidity.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio 2004
Sweeter, slightly more luscious and honeyed on the nose, with plenty of fruit that is bold and juicy. Palate has a lovely sweetness and ripeness, with a luscious edge to nectarine and pure, tangerine fruit and acidity. Lovely style here, with clarity and length to spare.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Bianco 2004
Gently toffeed and honeyed notes to clean, crisp pear and melony fruit. Nice weight on the palate without the intensity of the PG, but clean and pure, with pear fruit persisting and a balanced acidity.

Lageder (Italy) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
This is all about minerality on the nose, with sherbetty lime and lemon rather tan any green or tropical notes. The palate has more of the SB kick, with verve and a nice blast of lemony fruit that is quite fat, before a racy, pin-sharp acidity cuts through into a long, pure finish.

Lageder (Italy) Pinot Grigio Benfizium Porer 2003
Lots of honey and creamy. Toffeed character here. Intense, rounded fruits, with notes of peach and dried apricot. The palate has masses of unctuous, full fruit, with a silky texture and real concentration and extract. Lovely lime acidity and minerality begins to dominate, into a long, clean finish, which stays spicy and concentrated.

rosé wine

Lageder (Italy) Lagrein Rosato 2003
Lovely delicate cherry nose with raspberry brightness and a softly caramel aroma. On the palate there's a ripeness and richness at the core of this, with quite a deep flavour profile of fruit and a touch of tannins, in a beautifully clean and poised wine.

red wine

Lageder (Italy) Lagrein 2003
Really intense liquorice and black plum nose, with a real edge of dark cherry and a hint of sandalwood, with plenty of power and vibrancy. The palate betrays more coconutty, marzipanny oak, with a great weight of black fruit that has a firm edge and plenty of bite and backbone. Lovely weight, grippy tannins and a fine structure.

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