September 12, 2007 - Jack

Wine Blogging Wednesday #37

This month's theme is indigenous grape varieties.
The round-up page is here.

Thanks to Tyler at Dr. Vino's for hosting this
month's WBW and for choosing an appealing theme!

2002 Terlano Porphyr Riserva Lagrein
Our wine this month is:

2002 Kellerei Cantina Terlano Lagrein Porphyr Riserva - $46

This may be Terlano's top wine and is one of their four special "selection" wines made from their very best grapes. The winemaking team is led by Rudi Kofler. Only 300 cases were imported in the US. The 2002 received Three Glasses from Gambero Rosso and 3 stars from Verelli. You can find the 2001, 2002, and 2003 vintages in select wine stores.

Lagrein is a grape native to Alto Adige/Südtirol (South Tyrol), grown north of Balzano. It is indigenous and the primary red grape for the region. Most lagreins are priced (in the US) between $10 and $25. Single vineyards and blends of the best vineyards start at $18 and peak at $65. I've had a couple of excellent ones in the $35-$50 range (a J. Hofstatter Steinraffler was the most memorable).

Kellerei Cantina Terlano is a co-op in Terlano, in the Alto Adige region. Their vineyards are located on the south-facing slopes of Mount Tschöggel. Terlano was founded in 1893 and have about 100 member growers. Their members get paid based on quality not quantity. Total production is now 1,200,000 bottles.

Terlano also makes many other wines. I advise you to seek out the seven single vineyard and the four "selections" (Porphyr is one). The Winkl vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is quite good and a bargain at $23 (back label). The 2004 Lunare Gewürztraminer ($40) is outstanding.

Twenty-two different Terlano wines are imported into the US by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants. Their page on Terlano has a list of them.

2002 Terlani Porphyr Riserva Lagrein

Terlani "T" Symbol
Joanne's Tasting Note:
The nose has a definite underlying essence of BBQ sauce (an acidic tart BBQ sauce with just a touch of smokiness). It also has a definite floral element - purple flowers - maybe fragrant violets. The nose still seems tight and suggests a dry wine.

The color is rich and dark purplish red. On the palate it is a strongly acidic red with almost a dustiness on the finish as the tannins dry off your tongue. There is some bitterness but it doesn't overwhelm the palate just adding another layer of complexity. There is lots of fruit hinting towards dried black figs, or prunes but it is balanced out by the acidity making a bone dry fruity statement with lots of depth.

It needs something strong to eat with it - a hearty roast, BBQ'd meats, maybe steak. Leg of Lamb seems a good choice without one at hand to prove the theory.

2002 Terlani Porphyr Riserva Lagrein
Jack adds: Perhaps hints of eucalyptus on the nose. Right now it's just hinting a much bigger complexity. Not a fruit-bomb. Smooth, wide mid-palate. The medium-length finish has noticeable but not dominating acids. Quite food friendly - the 13% alcohol doesn't hinder that, too.

This wine is still quite young. Terlano's website suggests Porphyr is a 12-15 year wine, but I suspect the 2002 vintage will go for 25 years or more. How much it will improve? I'm not sure, as I've yet to see an older vintage (of any lagrein!), so it's difficult for me to judge their aging worthiness.

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