Browse Tag

alto adige

Valentin’s day

[label]St. Michael-Eppan “Sanct Valentin” 1997 Pinot Nero (Alto Adige) – Beginning to round into maturity, with earthier elements entering the otherwise beet-dominated palate. Red berries are in evidence, but they’re the minority partner. If there’s a quibble, perhaps it’s that the overall impression of the wine is slightly fetid. Nonetheless, there’s much to like here. (11/07)

TN: Sanct for the memories

[label]St. Michael-Eppan “Sanct Valentin” 2002 Sauvignon Blanc (Alto Adige) – Pure essence of sauvignon in all its green-hued glory. Torqued, Kermity and strong, with a mineral undercurrent and a biting skin-abraded finish. Classic. (5/07)

TN: Valentin’s day

[vineyard]St. Michael-Eppan “Sanct Valentin” 2004 Sauvignon Blanc (Alto Adige) – Grass over rocks, with a firm structure dominating whitewashed fruit of balanced, subtle ripeness. The finish is persistent and columnar. Eminently solid. (4/07)

TN: Little weisshauses for you & me

[soil]Colterenzio “Prædium” 2005 Pinot Bianco Weisshaus (Alto Adige) – Stones, water, rocks, sun and gravel, with only the faintest hint of lime-flavored tonic to intrude on the geologic exhibit. Despite all this minerality, it’s somewhat soft on the midpalate. Call it Minerality Lite. (4/07)

TN: Going down lagrein

Mumelter “Griesbauerhof” 2004 Lagrein (Alto Adige) – It’s light, it’s heavy, it’s light, it’s heavy. This wine pulses with a dark energy, a blood-stained metal bar reaching back for another blow to the head, then a friendly, fresh-faced basket of fruit and red, summery flowers. It’s a disturbing juxtaposition, frankly, but the wine somehow works. There’s a bit of brett, but just a complexing accent rather than a palate-wearying slathering. I’d let it age. (1/07)

TN: White noise

Lageder 2004 Pinot Bianco (Alto Adige) – Fine-ground rocks in a downy pillow, braced by crisp, lemon-apple acidity and showing fresh, lightly herbed grapefruit notes. As solid and basic as white wine can be. (12/06)

[Pinot Bianco]St. Michel-Eppan 2004 Pinot Bianco Schulthauser (Alto Adige) – Austere in structure but organoleptically zingy. Waterfalls over chalk and granite cliffs; this tastes of the mountains more than it does of grapes. A fine, albeit fruitless, wine. (12/06)

TN: Lagrein & red

Mumelter “Griesbauerhof” 2004 Lagrein (Alto Adige) – Dark metal tubing, structured and iron-driven around the edges but a little hollow and windy at the core. The iron elements actually verge on bloody, as there’s a significant brett component, and the dark fruit residue doesn’t quite match up to it. It’s good, in a peculiar sort of way, but it’s definitely not a crowd-pleaser, and I’m not sure that age will improve things; it would in the absence of brett, but… (12/06)

TN: Catching up, pt. 2

St. Michael-Eppan “Sanct Valentin” 1995 Cabernet (Alto Adige) – Cedar, herbs and very slightly green cassis with the paired bites of acid and tannin poking at the edges. Perhaps only halfway to maturity, though I wonder if the fruit is sufficient to outcomplex the slightly hard, green notes. And for those interested in sly blind tasting adventures, this could pass for a Bordeaux with effortless ease. Not a great Bordeaux, but Bordeaux nonetheless. (9/06)

Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2000 Pinot Noir (Waipara) – At first, this wine can’t decide whether it wants to be grilled-plum syrah, or tart-berried pinot. There’s a lot of acid here, and eventually that acidity decides matters; the smokiness fades a bit, leaving a wine with lots of unfocused flavor but a somewhat hollow midpalate and a perhaps overly crisp finish. Starts wide, finishes narrow. It’s a good wine, but I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with the way it’s aging. (9/06)

Maculan 1998 Breganze “Torcolato” (Veneto) – 375 ml. A beautiful, inspiring mélange of cinnamon, nutmeg, pineapple, clove, blood orange, caramel and butterscotch with just the right amount of brightening acidity. My mouth is watering just writing this tasting note. One of the truly great sweet wines of the world, calling to mind all the classic elements of Sauternes-style wines, but with its own unique palette of aromas and characteristics. (9/06)

Prager 1996 Weissenkirchner Steinriegl Riesling Smaragd (Wachau) – Firm and stern to the point of being sour (more in mood than in structure), with dried greengage plum and wind-whipped limestone. Complex and interesting, but not – at this moment – pleasurable. It would appear to need time, since there’s an awful lot of “here” here. Or “there” there. Whatever. It’s a stupid turn of phrase anyway. (9/06)

casina ‘tavijn 2004 Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato (Piedmont) – Exotic, Thai-influenced red fruit with wild aromas darting from jarred cherry to makrut lime to rose jam, with juicy acidity and light, sandpapery tannin lurking in the background. Difficult to embrace without preparation, but lots of fun. (9/06)

Audras “Clos de Haute-Combe” 2002 Juliénas “Cuvée Prestige” (Beaujolais) – Gentle but surprisingly firm red fruit dusted with graphite and sweet black earth. Lithe and light, with fine acidity and an elegant, almost regal texture. Lovely. (9/06)

Kuentz-Bas 2004 Alsace (Alsace) – Fragrant, and promising more palate weight than it eventually delivers; the wine is fresh, lightly fruity (mostly from the white and green spectrum) and very lightly spicy, with a vaguely effervescent zing and good, food-friendly acidity. An hors d’oeuvre wine. (9/06)

Edmunds St. John 2003 “Rocks & Gravel” (California) – Dense, fruity blueberry compote with light leather and faint morels. Forward and juicy, with decent structure somewhat overwhelmed by a lot of friendly, smiling fruit. (9/06)

TN: Pinot, please

J. Hofstätter 2004 Pinot Nero Meczan (Alto Adige) – Corked. (11/06)

Mongeard-Mugneret 2002 Bourgogne Pinot Noir (Burgundy) – Pretty classic basic Burgundy, showing soft red fruit, wet earth, and a very faint sheen of mushroomy funk. Quite pleasant to drink. (11/06)

Lagrein grass of home

Cantina Tramin 2001 Lagrein (Alto Adige) – So aromatically deadened that I worry about TCA for a few minutes after uncorking. But, not so. Just another wine completely muffled by an ill-advised vacation in barrique-land. There’s nothing here but the winemaking.

Lagrein is a grape that doesn’t get much respect. And it’s not shown much, here. What should be aromatically and structurally individualistic might as well be bargain-basement merlot shipped off to the nearest supermarket. What a waste. Alcohol: 12.5%. Importer: Winebow. Web: