My first experience with Lagrein was eye-opening. I had never seen such a wine from Northern Italy with its purple hue and rich, dark berry and plum flavors that were offset by a textural clash of acid and tannin. My first Lagrein was the J. Hofstätter, Steinraffler, a wine that is worth hunting for. However, since that experience, I’ve found some much more affordable bottles of Lagrien to love. I really enjoy these wines with a little bottle age to tame some of their naturally high levels of tannin.
When pairing this, I went with one of my old standards for Lagrein, Veal Saltimbocca. I learned a long time ago that these two wonderful items went together beautifully. In Italy, one of the most common foods to be enjoyed with Lagrein is Speck (a salt-cured, smoked ham from Tyrol). In this dish, the prosciutto lends a similar flavor as the speck, the sage gives it an herbal lift and the veal provides a cushion of velvety soft meat to help work through the Lagrein’s tannin. Together, they are the perfect match.
2009 Nals Margreid Lagrein Gries Riserva - The nose was dark and spicy with intense red berry fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate and earthy minerals. On the palate, it was medium-bodied and silky, showing masses of raspberry fruit with a tart twinge leading to a finish of red berries, herbs and tobacco. (91 points)