Channel: LCBO Vintages
Producer: Elena Walch
Region: Alto Adige / Südtirol
Appellation: Alto Adige DOC
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Sugar Content: 6 grams per litre
Elena Walch was an architect who married into the grape growing Walch family and took an interest in wine making. Now, she and her daughters, Julia and Karoline run the family winery. Karoline does the marketing, and I met her a few years ago at portfolio wine tasting put on by the Lifford wine agency. I remembered being particularly impressed with aromatic whites she was pouring. Our next meeting was in the autumn of 2019, when I traveled to Bolsano in the Dolomites to attend the Alto Adige Wine Summit. Karoline poured more great whites, but also this red, made from the indigenous grape, Lagrein. Not only was I impressed by the tasting, but I came away from it schooled: Karoline corrected my pronounciation of Lagrein, so it rhymes with wine.
The 2021 Elena Walch Lagrein is available at the LCBO through a recent Vintages release. It’s a weighty, inky red that reminds me a bit of Syrah from the South of France. Although Alto Adige is as north as one can get in Italy (also called Südtirol, the region was ceded from Austria following the First World War), it gets quite hot in the summer. Lagrein in typically planted in lower lying valleys, downhill from the white grapes on top, so it ripens fully. In this case into a blackberry and cassis attack with a bit of pepper on the finish, and a good acidity and velvety tannins to hold it all together. It wants red meat or mushrooms or maybe an end of summer ratatouille.