Istituto Sperimentale Laimburg, Vadena, Alto Adige

The Gambero Rosso once noted that if Istituto Sperimentale Laimburg did not exist it would need to be invented as this full service agricultural research and development station is essential to the local apple, stone fruit, forestry and wine cultures. As a result it produces a broad range of wines (and also fruit and forestry products!) but miniscule amounts of any given one. A unique and surprising factoid: despite its northern location, this cantina has palm trees and even agave plants planted in front of its facilities to point out that, due to warm winds off the lakes to their south, it is actually considerably warmer there than in Trentino or most of the Veneto. We are still waiting for them to take a run at making some Tecchila out of some of that agave though…

Laimburg Lago di Caldaro Schiava

Scelto / Kalterersee Auslese Ölleiten  2010, Alto Adige

More color, body, fruit, tannin and aroma than any Schiava has a right to have, this is one of the most fun wines we have tasted in years. A total no brainer for your next big holiday meal but also try it served cold with spicy food, picnic fare, brunch or any shellfish preparation and see for yourself why we love it so much.

 

Laimburg Lagrein Dunkel 2009, Alto Adige

Hey, YOU, Mr. “Cabernet is King and don’t confuse me with the facts”! In the mountains of Alto Adige they cultivate Lagrein, a grape capable of producing immensely concentrated yet silky smooth reds which exude dark berry, smoke, anise and tar on the nose and follow through with incredible richness on the palate. So, why not join us in the Lagrein Liberation Army and storm the Fortress of Boring Merlot, tonight? This is ready for battle and an outstanding value besides.

 

Laimburg Lagrein Riserva Barbagòl 2006, Alto Adige

Barbagòl is named after “the master wizard who beguiles the senses” and is one of the best examples of Lagrein we have ever found. Come see for yourself why Lagrein Dunkel was our Varietal of the Year for 2001. We just can’t sing the praises of this grape loud enough: it’s deep and complex enough for any wine geek yet also exudes an all enveloping sensuality that snares unsuspecting newbies every time we open a bottle. Lagrein, how do we love you? Let us count the ways: 1) you are dark and exotic and smoky, 2) you make almost any food taste better and any occasion more comforting, 3) the most expensive and highly praised by the press examples we’ve ever seen (including this one!) were less than $60…. we could go on.

 

Laimburg Cabernet Sauvignon

Riserva Sass Roà 2003, Alto Adige  Sold Out, New Vintage Soon!

Intenso! Immenso!! Not that Expenso!!!  As a result of that lake effect climate we told you about above, they are able to make truly exceptional Cabernet even in the middle of Ski Country: the Sass Roà has deeeeeep currant and plum fruit with a huge undertow of Dolomite minerals to balance it.

 

Castel Sallegg, Bolzano, Alto Adige

In 1851 the Castel Sallegg with its surrounding vineyard was bought by Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto. It was then inherited by the Counts von Kuenburg through Prince Henry of Campofranco. You might expect a guy with a name like Count Georg von Kuenburg who lives in a castle worthy of a fairy tale to be a stuffed shirt straight out of a Peter Sellers movie set in the Alps but, in fact, he is wonderfully down to Earth and friendly and makes delicious wines that have been big hits here since we first took them in five years ago.

 

Castel Sallegg Pinot Nero 2009, Alto Adige

Let Pinot be Pinot! This delicious Pinot Nero (Noir) is rich and full flavored with intense cherry, smoke and meat on the nose and deeeeeep red fruit on the palate with a smooth, soft finish. While not as intense as some of the current rage of Pinots that would be Blueberry Pancake Syrup (or as costly!), it is still looking for some air and some interesting food.

 

Castel Sallegg Lagrein 2009, Alto Adige 

This iwne is the product of a story you could not make up: Count von Kuenburg was driving through a zona famous for producing some of the best Lagreins in the Alto Adige when he noticed a famous vineyard site being torn up to build a shopping center. Where most people would just bitch about “there goes the neighborhood”, our friend Georg got on his cell phone, found out who owned the land and contracted to have dump trucks come and haul away 300 truckloads of soil and even the rocks underneath and take it to HIS estate. Starting from bedrock, he constructed a new hillside from scratch with not just this outstanding raw material but also perfect exposure to the sun and the results are fantastic. Deeeep, dark and lovely with intense plum, smoke and even coffee notes, this wine is living proof of one man’s dedication to his wines. Bravo Bello!

Castel Sallegg Moscato Rosa 2000, Alto Adige   375ml

Red Nectar??? This is intensely flavored RED dessert wine but not fortified with alcohol like Porto. Moscato Rosa seems to be a method of freebasing wild strawberries and Rosé petals and has insane intensity through sheer reduction of the raw materials by air drying. It has to be experienced to be believed and is actually worth the tariff. Did someone say “Chocolate”?