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Dark and powerful Lagrein from the Gries cru, with tastes of sweet black cherries, dark Darjeeling tea, black pepper and dark chocolate. “Best in Show” award at Decanter 2020
This Lagrein Riserva wine by K. Martini comes from a vineyard in the Gries area of Bolzano. This land has been the best-known historic cru for Lagrein since the 11th century. Ian D’Agata writes “at that time the monks of the abbey at Gries were the most famous local producers of the wine – not surprising, considering that the terroir of Gries is the one true grand cru for this variety”. I picked this Lagrein Riserva because in my opinion it’s one of the best examples of this wine: in 2020, Decanter Magazine named it “Best in Show”, and in 2021 it continued its winning streak and brought home the Decanter Silver Medal.
Lagrein wine is dark and deep. It’s known as Dunkel – dark- in German. It’s because it has the highest level of anthocyanins (a type of tannins responsible for dark ruby colour) among all Italian grapes. Lagrein is a late-ripener that needs a lot of warmth, and a very finicky grape with unstable productivity. So it’s only cultivated by the most dedicated and hard-working winemakers who dare to go the extra mile.
Grapes are picked by hand in the first week of October. Back in the day, Lagrein wine was known for its bitter aftertaste. But now any unpleasant flavours are avoided thanks to modern techniques such as cold fermentation. Lucas Martini, the winemaker, ferments grape must for 20 days in stainless steel tanks, at a controlled temperature of 25°C. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is placed in 1500-litre French oak barrels for eighteen months, for ageing and refinement. Ultimately, the wine is lightly filtered, bottled and left in the cellar to rest for at least seven months, where it finished developing while the flavours integrate.
In the glass, this Lagrein Riserva has a dark, deep ruby colour. The wine offers rich flavours of sour black cherries, blackberries and sweet prunes. It has silky, dense tannins, and is packed with flavours of Darjeeling tea, black pepper, dark chocolate as well as balsamic notes. Despite the deceiving sweetness, the wine is perfectly dry, with only 0.8 g/l residual sugar.
Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 – Silver Medal (2018 vintage) | Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 – Best in Show (2017 vintage) | Decanter World Wine Awards 2019 – Silver Medal (2015 vintage) | I Vine di Veronelli – 3 stars (2016 vintage)
Still Dry Red Wine
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