Elena Walch Alto Adige 2008 Lagrein

Elena Walch achieved my dream of marrying into a wine family early on before the Alto Adige region had really taken off. She took over this family’s two wineries in the region: Castel Ringberg and Kastelaz, and has been making delicious, world-class wines from the South Tyrol ever since. It’s a region not many people know about, much less drink wine from. I guess what I’m saying is, read this review and then buy the damn wine.

COLOR: Pleasing to the eye is what comes to mind. Great brightness and yet it’s dark. It’s strange. The stuff looks simultaneously tasty and teeth-staining-thick. It’s the T-1000 of wines.

NOSE: Brilliant dark plum and tobacco with that delicious basement must scent that is a prerequisite among the Italian wines.

TASTE: Not as thick or powerful as you would expect based on the clobbering your shnozz just took or the way it rolls around the glass like liquid metal. I was expecting a severe and delicious beatdown, but instead the wine was simply tasty. Great structure that doesn’t go overboard on the fruit (as expected) but also does not descend into the depths of fire-breathing heat. Chocolate covered cherries and plums, some hard candy, a bit of caramel. For some reason I’m reminded of when you mow a lawn and leave the clippings in a pile for a day or two. Great tannins, but not buff. Think tri-athelete, not bodybuilder. It’s a wine that makes you want to swish it around for a a few extra seconds just to taste the complexity.

WITH FOOD: This wine is made to be enjoyed with a meal, so don’t wuss out. It should definitely be paired with some sort of dead animal, or at least some sort of ancient cheese. Goat or lamb would be good, but I’m not sure how many Americans are firing up a Sunday afternoon goat. Steak would work, but it almost seems anti-climactic.

WHERE TO BUY: $16.99 MissionLiquor.com!

WINEMAKER WEBSITE: www.elenawalch.com

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