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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Red Wine Basics: Lagrein

New Zealand Lagrein
New Zealand Lagrein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lagrein is a red grape variety native to Northern Italy. Thick, vigorous growth and large yields makes proper care essential. Pruning is important, especially in cooler areas where sunlight is limited.

The wine is quite astringent; so long periods of barrel maturation (up to two years) are typical. For vintners hoping to create younger, fresher wines, a fining agent is added before fermentation to induce molecules to bond. The larger molecules are then filtered out, including tannins. This allows a young wine to be less harsh without aging.

Lagrein wines are typically deep red to purple in color with decent levels of acidity and tannins. The wine exhibits the flavors of berry-fruit and plums with a finish that tastes of tobacco, leather, mushrooms and sour cherries. Younger Lagrein is fresh and fruity, and with age, the wine’s youthful flavors become more complex. Lagrein is best aged only to about five years, after this the wine begins to lose some of its character. The wine has medium body and a minerally nose.

In blends it is usually paired with less tannic grapes to add flavor structure and it is also used to make ros├Ęs. Pair Lagrein with red or white meats and aged cheeses. This finishes off my exploration of Lagrein. Join me next time for a discussion about Malbec.

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