Lagrein, yes, Lagrein, it’s Italian wine, Lagrein, look it up. Coming from the Alto Adige region of Italy we have a wine that is black as night and can be serious, deadly serious. It’s a tiny little region where old Lagrein is produced, shockingly this is from up close to the Austrian border, close to Bolzano hence the Germanic name… Lagrein.

The production comes from around 750 acres of this small piece of Italian terroir, the best can be dark fruit city and bold, the worst, like I just tried 30 minutes ago, can be vegetal and not in a good way. I’m not here to bash Lagrein chums, I’m a big fan normally but today, dodging the fat Venetian rain and thirsting for something a little different I thought I’d try Pam’s selection of reds.

Seemingly, I may never learn my lesson with my local supermarket, every week I scour the top shelves (for wine…. filthy minds) hoping to see a little gem leap out and in a squeaky whiny voice say “pick me, I’m your friend” and once more I was conned by a pretty label. Well, winemakers at Villa Von Steiner, if that is your real name, you have inspired me to write about Lagrein which is a good thing, but I’m afraid you’re going to take a small and inconsequential bashing.

So, who produces good Lagrein? There’s 3 or 4 producers that come to mind where you can experience Lagrein for what its known for, heavenly colour, a minerally, black fruit nose and smooth mouthfeel. Cantina di Terlano are practically dead certs year in and year out their Lagrein Porphyr Reds are very good but pricey at around €30. I have a back tasting note on their 2001 for you later on. If you are not rolling in gold but would like to try a good Lagrein then a solid smaller priced producer would be Alois Lageder for roughly half that price. You really want to know what I thought of my Pam wine dontcha? Ok, I was being a little harsh but I like to draw you in, let’s do it.

Villa von Steiner Lagrein 2004PASS – €9
Fantastic penetrating dark purple, all the way thru, what hues? ink black vino. The nose just stinks, wet rocks mixed with onions, soil, even horse manure, I mean this nose is seriously unpleasant and here is where the wine can play mind games with you. The immediate mouth feel is gorgeous, black fruits and such a soft silky mouth feel, you begin to forgive the manure, and then it comes back in the mid palate and you lose all fruit, it turns acidic and very plain and uninteresting and then it gives you a really long finish of this foulness, and you think, “what the hell happened”. A confusing wine, but for that I have to give it some kudos for being so interesting. 82 Points

Hey, I’ve paid more than €9 to be confused before but I wont recommend this to you guys. You don’t take this wine to a party, you don’t sit and eat a selection of fine cheeses with it, you could stir it into your spag bol and actually even to accompany spag bol it would be fine. So onto happier times and a past tasting note of a Cantina di Terlano Lagrein.

Cantina di Terlano Lagrein Porphyr Red Riserva 2001BUY – €50
Dark, deep and brooding purple in the glass. A lovely nose of plums, dark fruits and an obvious mineral quality. A good full bodied effort, smooth on the mouthfeel, well structured, perfect tannins, deep and capable of aging. A little bit of oak on the end, but a great effort. What we have here is textbook Lagrein. 91 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans – Drogheria Pedrelli – €25
Americans – Vinfolio – $39
Brits – Wines of the World£27

Question of the Day
I already asked you one and I see no comments to it! So you’re not getting another. *turns back*

So, in other news, I should be hooking up with a few Italian Food blogs over the next couple of weeks so we can combine my, obvious, talents in the world of wine and get some food matching done. After all, wine is, at its very best, an accompaniment to food and I’ve been forgetting that and thanks to the readers who like to remind me. If you have an Italian blog and would like to work together to help spread the Italian love then email me at

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Ebert says:

    I have never heard of this variety of wine. Thanks for bringing it up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Twisty Xoffie

  3. Simon says:

    SarahhhhhhI love Lagrein and wonder if you followed up from my email? That first Lagrein sounds terrible, I always drink the same one, Taber St Magdalena Lagrein Riserva.I see that you’re writing about more and more tiny areas and in the local area too.

  4. Andrew says:

    been an age since I last sampled a Lagrien; must try and find one. An under-rated variety I feel although not on the basis of your disappointing bottle.

  5. nebbiolo says:

    There are several Lagreins in Santa Barbara CA. Mosby Winery, Lafond Winery and Whitcraft Wineryall have them and they are very close to the ones in Itlay

  6. Katie says:

    There's also a nice, cheap Lagrein from Murie-Gries which is actually a monastary in Bolzano. Bottles are only 10 euros if my memory serves me correctly.

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