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Lagrein

Lagrein is a full-bodied, enveloping red grape that offers surprising interpretations: dark and garnet-coloured in the Dunkel version, but also ruby-red or rosé in the Kretzer type, it impresses with its structure, elegance and personality. It is grown throughout South Tyrol, but its favourite and most important area is in the Bolzano region, where the high temperature ranges between night and day, and the clay and limestone soil with gravel subsoil give it a magnificent intensity and characteristic freshness. A deep, impenetrable colour, aromas of violets, blackberries, spices and undergrowth, with hints of dark chocolate, soft tannins that embrace the palate, and a characteristic, unmistakable spiciness make it a perfect pairing with game, cheese, mushrooms, typical salami and red meat.

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Lagrein is a full-bodied, enveloping red grape that offers surprising interpretations: dark and garnet-coloured in the Dunkel version, but also ruby-red or rosé in the Kretzer type, it impresses with its structure, elegance and personality. It is grown throughout South Tyrol, but its favourite and most important area is in the Bolzano region, where the high temperature ranges between night and day, and the clay and limestone soil with gravel subsoil give it a magnificent intensity and characteristic freshness. A deep, impenetrable colour, aromas of violets, blackberries, spices and undergrowth, with hints of dark chocolate, soft tannins that embrace the palate, and a characteristic, unmistakable spiciness make it a perfect pairing with game, cheese, mushrooms, typical salami and red meat.

History of the Noble Lagrein

According to a somewhat unconfirmed hypothesis, which was only supported by Marzotto in the first half of the 1900s, the name derives from Vallagarina or Val Lagarina, which is the last stretch of land crossed by the Adige River. More likely, the origin of the name comes from Lagara, a Ancient Greek colony on the Ionian coast of the Basilicata region, where a particularly intense and strong red wine, Lagarino, was produced. Over the course of the centuries, the grapes were traded in northern Italy via the Adriatic Sea, spreading first to the Veronese coast and then, following the Adige River, to the Bolzano basin, which today is still considered the land of choice for the best Lagrein.

The first historical evidence of red Lagrein dates back to 1370 and was supplied by Charles IV, who particularly appreciated its robust character and structure, to the point of prohibiting its distribution to the army and reserving it only for the courts of nobles and ecclesiastics. This led to the creation of Dunkel, a noble and aristocratic red nectar for the chosen few. This is also the origin of the famous Benedictine abbey of Gries, considered the centre of red wines made from this grape and one of the most historic areas in the whole of South Tyrol. From 1525 onwards, a farmers' uprising led by the Tyrolean Michael Gaismair succeeded in bringing this red wine back into the homes of the common people.

Recent genetic and ampelographic studies have suggested that Lagrein is closely related to the Teroldego Rotaliano and Marzemino varieties. In fact, it seems that these grapes derive from the same strain and have very similar characteristics. This is a case that certainly deserves further research.



Diffusion and Territory

Its historical area, considered to be the best for production, is limited to the Bolzano basin, in particular to the town of Gries, where the Muri-Gries winery still produces high quality expressions from vineyards that are respectfully preserved in the Abbey. However, it has spread throughout the South Tyrol region, often in blends with its younger sister, Schiava, or on its own, making Lagrein DOC, which belongs to the Alto Adige DOC line that includes a vast number of reds and whites. This grape can give rise to two different styles: the red Dunkel, translated as ''dark'', from red vinification, and the rosé Kretzer, vinified with light maceration on the skins. It is also present throughout the territory as one of the most famous and important wines of Trentino, giving rise to expressions of great structure, with dark and intense colours, and a spicy and warm flavour.

The territory of this region has an alpine climate, marked by harsh winters with frequent frosts and mild summers with significant differences between night and day. The soil on which the vines stand is of alluvial origin, composed of clay and limestone with a gravelly and sometimes sandy subsoil. As a result, intense and fresh notes are drawn from the soil, giving it a unique and typical profile.



Visual Appearance, Taste and Flavour Analysis and Food Pairings

One of the most typical characteristics of this variety is its dense, impenetrable, dark colour, with shades that vary from purplish red for the fresher, more immediate versions to garnet for the more developed types. In fact, it has a high content of polyphenols and colouring substances that give it a unique and impenetrable appearance in the light. The aromas are rich, intense and complex, fascinating and seductive. An initial fruity foretaste of small red and black berries, such as cherries, black cherries, wild berries and small plums, opens the range of aromas. As you swirl it around in the glass, hints of violets and dark, hot spices emerge, such as black pepper, with pleasant touches of cocoa, coffee and liquorice, due to the ageing in wood. It concludes on balsamic and mentholated tones. The taste is strong and robust, intense and full-bodied, with well developed tannins that tend to become softer and smoother with ageing in wood. Although it has a full, decisive structure, it is balanced by a freshness that is always inviting and which, even after long periods of ageing, remains very present.

Lagrein should be paired with well seasoned and spiced meat dishes to contrast the full-bodied and peppery character of this red wine. The most classic combinations include ribs, goulash, roasts, braised meats and game, while for the more local pairings there are typical South Tyrolean products such as canederli with speck, Graukase and Malga cheese, Spaetzle with butter and cream and frankfurters.

On Callmewine you will find a wide selection of the best South Tyrolean reds made from this grape, complete with descriptions and recommendations on serving and pairing. Discover Lagrein' prices, characteristics and profile on Callmewine's online wine shop and buy the best red wine for your dinner.