Muri-Gries, Alto Adige DOC, 2011

Muri-Gries, Alto AdigeThis wine comes from one of the northern-most areas of Italy, from the region Trentino-Alto Adige. This region is one of the three that make up the the Tre Venezie (Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia being the other two), which is generally known for it’s crisp white wines. A good number of red wines are found in this region as well, including wines from grapes local to Trentino-Alto Adige such as Schiava and Lagrein. The region has two provinces – Trentino in the south and Bolzano to the north. Bolzano, or Alto Adige, is also known as Südtirol, which translates to South Tirol (or Tyrol) – a nod to the southern Austrian province that borders the region to the north. In fact, two thirds of the inhabitants of this province speak German, and Austro-German culture has helped shaped the wine industry in the region. Wines produced in Alto Adige are permitted to have German labels and can even classify themselves by the German QbA system instead of the Italian DOCG system.

The main wine region in this province is the Alto Adige DOC, which encompasses a number of smaller sub-regions and can cover wine grown in almost any part of the province (the sub-region concept is similar to what is seen in the Chianti DOCG). The German and Austrian cultural influence can be seen in the production of wines, and many that you find are based on grapes traditionally associated with Austria or Germany, such as Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, and Sylvaner. There are also a number of “international” varietals that are allowed, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The number of grape varieties, the variance in language, and the sub-regions make this one of the more confusing wine regions in Italy. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on your preference) for Americans, most wines found from this region will simply be labeled as Alto Adige DOC.

This wine is produced by Muri-Gries and  is from one of the aforementioned local varieties, Lagrein. Wine from this grape can be quite rich and have high levels of acid, especially when young. This particular bottle is very dark in color, deep purple around the edges and darkening to almost black in the middle. It’s nose is rather soft with hints of bitter, dark chocolate and dark red fruit. The nose makes the wine feel sleek and elegant. On the palate it has smooth and very subtle tannins along with some subtle acidity – certainly not the highly acidic wine that you sometimes find. The palate has flavors of chocolate, spice, and other red fruits. The finish has some lingering acidity to it, along with some spice and bitter flavors, which is one of the main takeaways from the wine. A nice wine, though a bit more acidity may have balanced it a little more.

Price: $18

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