My travels to the Dolomites in northeastern Italy are limited to the wine in my glass. But I have to say that virtual travel is one of the great pleasures of wine. The Dolomites, with their jagged peaks, steep slopes, valleys cut by glaciers and alpine rivers, have created a complex terroir that defines Trentino-Alto Adige. Today we are tasting two wines made by Alois Lageder, a sixth generation family-owned winery located in Magrè, north of Trento. We received both wines as tasting samples.
In 1823 Johann Lageder established himself as a wine merchant in Bolzano. In the years that followed the family began making wine and even growing their own grapes. 1934 marked the year that the family moved firmly from wine merchant to winery owner when Johann’s great-grandson Alois purchased the Löwengang wine estate in Magrè. Gradually the Lageder family increased its vineyard holdings in Alto Adige and began buying grapes from other growers.
Alois Lageder IV, whose father purchased the Löwengang estate, is the fifth generation to lead the family winery. All of his family are involved in the winery’s operation, which includes the sixth generation.
Since 2004 the family’s 135 acres of vineyards have been farmed biodynamically. In addition the winery partners with about 80 growers in the area. The Lageder family’s commitment to sustainability and biodiversity is remarkable. By 2018 all estate vineyards and over half of partner vineyards had been converted to organic or biodynamic viticulture. The goal is to make 100% organic and biodynamic wines by 2023.
Alois Lageder makes several ranges of wines. Classical Grape Varietals wines are sourced primarily from partner vineyards and explore the diversity of the region. The Compositions range relies on the blending of various vineyard components to produce wines of character. The Masterpiece wines are sourced from the estate’s best biodynamic vineyard sites. Comets includes unique releases every year representing experiments in the vineyard and wine cellar.
Alois Lageder also includes two additional projects: Terra Alpina and Riff. Riff wines are made with grapes sourced from grower partners in the Veneto region.
The Terra Alpina range of wines from Alois Lageder carry the regional designation of Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT. The geographical area includes Trentino-Alto Adige and Belluno province in Veneto. The IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) classification allows winemakers more latitude in winemaking and choosing grape varieties. Grapes for both of these wines are sourced from vineyards in northern and central Trentino and estate fruit from Alto Adige.
2018 Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Bianco, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT — pale yellow in the glass with intense aromas of oranges and lemons, oat hay and yellow melon. Intense gravelly minerality and lemony citrus flavors finish with a grating of citrus pith that have me salivating. 12.5% abv. SRP $15
2018 Alois Lageder Terra Alpina Pinot Grigio, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT — pale yellow in the glass with aromas of white flowers and tropical fruit. Flavors of pears, pineapple and gravelly minerality finish with lemony citrus flavors. Once again, this wine finishes juicy and clean. 12.5% abv. SRP $16
Both of these white wines are lovely. They offer outstanding complexity and freshness, not to mention value. Of the two, the Pinot Grigio offers more complexity to my taste.
These wines will be stellar during the warmth of summer, but we enjoyed them right now with creamy pasta that included asparagus and shiitake mushrooms. I must say, the pairing was right on!
At a time when many in the world are restricted from traveling due to the COVID-19 outbreak and wine events are being cancelled, traveling through your wine glass is still possible. And, it’s a delicious way to support all of the folks employed in growing grapes and making that delicious wine for you.
Thanks to Jarvis Communications for the delicious introduction to the wines of Alois Lageder.