Welcome again to the latest edition of the Jace Wines e-Blast Newsletter. We hope you are enjoying the experience. Keep the questions coming – Alessandro Pascolo and Nathalie Bellutti really enjoy the interaction and interest.
One Customer asked: “What do you like best about Lagrein? Why is it so special to the people of the Südtirol and Tramin? What is your favorite dish/meal to pair with it?”
Nathalie’s Answer: “The Lagrein is an autochthonous (indigenous) grape variety of Südtirol. It is a very old and historical variety. It was used for winemaking already in the medieval times. Together with the Schiava, it is the most significant red wine in our region because you can find this variety almost only in this region. It has a very special and characteristic aroma and is very well adapted to our climate and soil in contrast to other international varieties of dark red wines. It has an extraordinary intense dark purple color and is very rich in tannins, and has a good acidity that allows this wine to age for many years. I like most its very fruity note of blackberries. For me the Lagrein pairs best with Goulash from deer with “Spätzle” (a homemade pasta) and red cabbage (steamed with apple, cranberries and red wine); and Chris’ family recipe for Wild Boar Pasta. My boyfriend Joseph is a chef, and he really likes to cook these dishes because he loves Lagrein.”
San Diego Private Tasting Scheduled. TODAY, MARCH 20, 2018, IS THE LAST DAY TO RSVP. We have scheduled a private tasting of all Pascolo and Rynnhof wines for Friday, March 23, 2018, from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. at San Diego Wine Storage, 5330 Metro Street, San Diego, 92110. Located off Linda Vista Road, across the street from the “Home Brew Mart,” the birthplace of Ballast Point beers. Chris has to leave to catch a flight, so come on the early side. Local pick-up available. SPACE IS LIMITED, RSVP REQUIRED. RSVP to Chris by TODAY, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 — [email protected]. Bridget and our colleague Mark Burgess will be there.
Second San Diego Tasting Booked. The word is getting out. We’ve been booked for a community tasting in our neighborhood at the Mission Hills Wine Cellar, 1624 West Lewis Street, San Diego, 92103. It’ll be happy hour — Friday, April 27, 2018, starting at 6:30 p.m., it is always a great time in the neighborhood. Help us PACK THE HOUSE. We would love to see you – please make every effort to attend. Let us know if you can make it — [email protected]. Hope to see you there.
This week’s wine: Lagrein
You’ve heard it before — this has become Chris’ favorite food wine. Our friend Bruce McGuire, winemaker from Santa Barbara Winery, has been making small batches of 100% California-grown Lagrein for years, and we’ve served some 3L and 6L bottles at the house in the past. Lagrein originates in the Südtirol, Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. The tiny town of Tramin is at the center of top-quality Lagrein universe. Italian Lagrein has more density and a seductive quality that distinguishes it from its California-grown counterparts. A wine critic recently wrote the following description of Tramin: “A small, picturesque Tyrolean village just south of the city of Bolzano, the village of Tramin is not counted among the world’s great wine destinations. Yet if you’re on the hunt for great lagrein, then eventually you’ll find your way to Tramin….” When in Tramin in November 2017, we had some Lagrein from 1984 and 1998, and they were terrific, with lots of life and dark fruit flavors to last another decade, at least.
Today, there are about 840 acres of Lagrein planted in the entire Alto Adige, up from 620 acres from 1990 — so the wine’s popularity continues to be on the slow, steady rise. By contrast, there are over 95,000 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in California alone. There is no escaping it – wines made from Lagrein are thick, chewy, tannic, and extremely tasty flavor bombs. You can almost feel the purple stains sinking into your teeth with each sip. Yet, despite the full-body profile, Lagrein is not hot, heavy, or bitter. Traditionally, Lagrein is described as deliciously “plummy, earthy and chewy.” In recent years, the introduction of new oak to the aging process has added a smooth, vanilla bean flavor to the wine.
Nathalie’s Lagrein balances the historic tannic structure with flavors of deep black fruits, with inviting scents of blackberries and blueberries along with hints of nutmeg and licorice. As with most of the wines in our profile, there’s a distinct minerality thanks to the limestone soils on her east-facing hillside vineyard. The finish is what makes this Lagrein unique: clear hints of chocolate and tobacco with a dusty earthiness linger on the finish, reminiscent of a classic French Pomerol. This wine should be decanted for about an hour, or opened at least 2 hours early to let it breathe — it is still a young wine with a long aging potential (Chris is gonna’ hold one for 20 years, well, because he can). Game meats and ripe cheeses pair best. To make it easy, we’ve posted our family recipe for wild boar pasta on our website. We think you’ll find this to be the perfect combo. And, for those a little more daring, you can substitute deer for the wild boar (both meats are regular additions to the menu in Tramin).
2016 Ansitz Rynnhof
Hillside fruit with eastern exposure, mixed clay and limestone soil. Controlled temperature steel tank fermentation, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in oak barrique barrels in the estate’s 600 year old cellar. Smooth blackberry scents and deep black fruit flavor. Serve with red meat, game meat and ripe cheese.
ORDER NOW – ONLY 20 CASES AVAILABLE
Ask Nathalie, Part 2:
Another question: “I have heard you went out on a limb and blended some Lagrein with some small-batch Merlot you grow on your estate. Why this whimsical pairing? What was the resulting wine like? How much of it did you make, total vintage production? And, are you going to let Jace Wines get their hands on any of it?”
Nathalie’s Answer: “The pairing Lagrein + Merlot is becoming more common in our region. Due to its very strong tannins, the Lagrein is for serious red wine lovers, not as approachable and easy drinking for many people — it is uniquely special and strong in its aroma. By pairing it with Merlot, the resulting blend is more soft and light. Three years ago we decided to plant some Merlot vines and to try to make a blend with Lagrein (70%) + Merlot (30%). 2016 was the first vintage of this blend with about 500 bottles. This year we will have about 900 bottles. And of course we reserved some cases for Jace Wines! Ask Bridget where she stashes it.”
Awaiting various government and regulatory approvals, we will soon have the wines of rock-star Stefan Vaja of Glassier (Chardonnay, Cabernet/Merlot, and Lagrein), and the proprietary Celentino Family wines: Pertinent (Cabernet/Merlot from Alessandro Pascolo), Apropos (Lagrein/Schiava from Nathalie), Connected (Pinot Bianco/Sauvignon Blanc from Stefan), Relevant ( a blend of Nero D’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, and Frappato from Sicily), and our own Rosé of Lagrein (Stefan). Stay tuned. And, be ready to stock up, for these wines won’t last.
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