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Alois Lageder, Alto Adige (Italy) Pinot Grigio Porer 2018 ($17)
 The Lageder family has been making wines in Alto Adige since 1823 and today is led by the sixth generation, Clemens and Helena Lageder where biodynamic farming is a central part of the wine.  The family owns more than 135 acres of biodynamic certified vineyards and more than half of their 80 contract growers throughout the region are also biodynamic.  For the Lageders, wine should not be grown in a monoculture, but rather in a region of agricultural biodiversity.   Lucky for them, Alto Adige supplies up to 50% of the national Italian apple market.  However, they have also forged a transhumance  partnership with the local cheesemaker, allowing the dairy cows to graze in their vineyards in the winter, while in the summer the cows return to the mountain plains.  The wines of Alois Lageder reflect the commitment to purity and authenticity the family puts forth in both the vineyard and the cellar.  The 2018 Porer Pinot Grigio is a perfect example of this.  A blend of three different aging processes from classic to skin contact and whole cluster maceration.  A beautiful expression of on often dismissed grape variety.  This wine offers notes of green melon, citrus peel, yellow apple, and a hint of bitter almond.  Though fresh and crisp, the structure of this wine has a bit of grip that brings an added depth.   
94 Jessica Dupuy


Posted by Robert Whitley on September 20, 2019 at 1:26 PM

Harvest Destinations

 Throughout the United States, wherever wine is made (and that’s just about every state), harvest is underway.  There is no better time to visit wine country.  Harvest is a feast for the senses, with the smell of fermenting grapes in the air, warm days and cool nights, and the up-close-and-personal view of the new vintage.

Whether you are in New York or Virginia, Missouri or Idaho, California or Washington, the time for a visit is now.

Rooted as I am in California, I tend to spend some time each harvest in my home state.  This week I offer up three California destinations that in my opinion are pure magic during the grape harvest.

First, Healdsburg, California in the heart of Sonoma County.  Healdsburg is surrounded by vineyards, from Chalk Hill to the Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys.  This small village with its quaint town square is a beehive of activity during harvest.  There are numerous excellent bed and breakfast spots to choose from, but I typically decamp at Hotel Healdsburg with its crackling fireplace in the bar area and exquisite menu offerings at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen.  

Napa, California is perhaps the busiest destination of them all around harvest.  I like to stay at the Rancho Caymus Inn, north of the city in the heart of the Napa Valley.  Under the same ownership as the excellent Flora Springs winery, Rancho Caymus features wood-burning fireplaces in nearly every room and is right next door to the iconic Beaulieu Vineyards winery.  You can’t get much closer to the harvest as that, with trucks wheeling grapes to the crusher throughout the night.  Also next door is the delicious Rutherford Grill, where there is no corkage fee if you bring in your own wine.  And not to be missed at harvest is a stop at Chef Ken Frank’s La Toque, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Westin hotel in the city of Napa.  Frank runs a special truffle menu every year during harvest, and if you’re lucky Chef Frank will personally shave truffles at your table. 

Paso Robles, California is another small California city with a big winery presence and a charming town square . A patio table at BL Brasserie (formerly Bistro Laurent) puts you in the middle of everything, with local wines galore at one of Paso’s most prominent restaurants over the past two decades.  And for a superb dining experience at a winery, the restaurant at Niner Wine Estates on the west side of Paso is about as good as it gets.  The finest bed and breakfast around, The Canyon Villa, also is located on the west side.  Chef Wills Carter, the proprietor, won’t disappoint.  Chef Carter has serious game.

Email Robert at whitleyonwine@yahoo.com
or connect with him on Twitter at @WineGuru

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Postcard from 'Bollicine di Montagna': TrentoDOC Takes Its Place on the World Stage
Rich Cook

Although TrentoDOC (short for Trento Denomiazione di Origine Controllata - thanks for that, marketeers!) has been around since 1993, its declaration was made possible much further back, when Giulio Ferrari sourced fruit in the Dolomite foothills around Trento back in 1902, with the intent of making a sparkling wine that would rival those he found in Epernay. Today that hope is a reality, with the DOC counting 53 producers among its ranks and soon to add two more. TrentoDOC is a sub appellation in the northwest portion of the larger Trentino region, focused specifically on 'Metodo Classico' sparkling wine made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier, with most producers focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Age Matters
Michael Apstein

Winegrowers around the world speak lovingly of old vines. Though the definition is never official, nor even clear, many bottles still carry the moniker, Vieilles Vignes, Vecchie Viti or Viñas Viejas, depending on whether you're talking about French, Italian or Spanish wines. A tasting of Travaglini's Gattinara in New York recently drove home the value of old vines. Cinzia Travaglini and her daughter, Alessia, who represent the 4th and 5th generation of the Travaglini family, presented the wines, not intending to show the importance of old vines. But, for me, the tasting did just that.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Deconstructed Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

Like us, you probably enjoy spending a few hours in the kitchen on occasion, carefully pulling together a special meal to share with family and/or friends. But then there are those days when you still want to prepare a nice dinner…but you're rushed for time. This second scenario was where we recently found ourselves. We were hankering for chicken enchiladas but didn't really have time to cook the chicken, make fresh salsa, stuff and roll up the individual enchiladas and so on. Then it hit us: K.I.S.S. - as in, keep it simple, stupid. The solution to that day's dietary dilemma would be to pick up a pre-cooked bird in the form of a rotisserie chicken, and some fresh salsa. Then, instead of filling and rolling individual enchiladas we would cook everything together in a skillet. At the last minute we would stir in the tortillas, letting them dissolve into the mixture. We hoped it would be a simple one-dish dinner with all the tastes and textures of classic enchiladas.
On My Table
Overdelivering for the Price
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Alois Lageder is one of the largest private wine producers in Alto Adige. The family owns more than 135 acres which are all farmed biodynamically, and also works with 80 individual growers. Besides the Alois Lageder label, which includes more than a dozen varietal wines along with single-vineyard wines and special bottlings, the family makes wines under the Terra Alpina label. These are larger-volume wines that carry the Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT classification rather than the more restrictive Alto Adige DOC; the IGT territory extends into neighboring Trento province, enabling the wine draw from more vineyards. The 2018 Terra Alpina Pinot Bianco has a quiet aroma that suggests fresh apples, grapefruit and, vaguely, peaches.