Loimer and Alois Lageder

I haven’t been very prolific of late and I can’t say I’ve been particularly busy doing other things… but never mind, I did attend a tasting last week…

Stefanie Lobner, visiting from Loimer in the Kamptal and Urs Vetter, from Alois Lageder in Alto Adige, presented a masterclass together, hosted by importer Red + White, in the Hellenic Museum’s beautiful Henderson Room.

The wines, tasted across six brackets, were as diverse as they were compelling, all from single sites and all grown biodynamically. Even if you maintain a heathy skepticism when it comes to biodynamics you must at least concede to the fact that wines grown with such care are quite often appreciably finer than those grown conventionally. As Lobner explained, perhaps more eloquently, the natural inhibition of yield from vines grown biodynamically has an immediate impact on quality. Furthermore, it’s a healthy practice whichever way you look at it.

Both Lobner and Vetter were incredibly knowledgeable and engaging speakers. The wines are all brilliantly crafted, complex and drink with remarkable finesse.

Fred Loimer began working biodynamically in 2006 and is a founding member of respekt-BIODYN. The 2016 Grüner Veltliner wines from the Loiserberg and Spiegel sites were followed by Rieslings from Seeberg and Steinmassl. All were fine and complex wines with moderate alcohol levels. The 2016 Steinmassl Riesling was my pick of the bunch; succulent golden-toned fruit is balanced by a fine line of acidity, it’s seamless, a sublime wine.

I’ve something of a fetish for Gewürztraminer when it’s made well and the 2015 Alois Lageder Am Sand was jut that: dry, of course, with great varietal character and remarkable elegance. The 2016 Forra Manzoni Bianco, too, was brilliant. Manzoni Bianco is a Riesling and Pinot Blanc crossing created and most widely cultivated in the Veneto. It’s a particularly aromatic grape, textural, but dry extract imparts definition.

Both producers offered outstanding Pinot Noir. Loimer’s hailed from the Anning site of Gumpoldskirchen in the Thermenregion. Lageder’s from the Krafuss site west of Bolzano. Both wines had an attractive sweet tone to the fruit and a refreshing quality. Loimer’s perhaps offered a little more density… whichever you prefer is up to you.

Finally, we tasted Lageder’s 2015 Cornus Lagrein Riserva. Not a variety you see on shelves in Australia very often. There’s an almost red-lolly like character to this wine and a bit of the old farm animal. It’s bright and juicy and yet almost paradoxically firm and savoury. Is it for everyone? No… but I liked it a lot.

Campania dreaming…

You don’t have to stray far from Parliament station to find a good Pizza in Melbourne, the gastronomic traditions of Campania (and the rest of Italy, to be fair) have deep roots here… so why is it that the wines are so poorly represented in even the finest wine shops around town? I understand if Taurasi DOCG is not your ideal mid-summer heat-remedy but the region is home to some delicious and food friendly whites. The DOCGs Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are well-known… but there are delicious wines made from varieties like Coda di Volpe that are as refreshing as they are full of flavour. Goodbye Grigio!

Recent years have seen the planting of new varieties in regions such as the McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills and many of them are from the south of Italy. It’s forward thinking behaviour, to say the least, especially in a warming climate. Fiano appears to have been most successful in South Australia.

At lunch today I enjoyed a 2016 Domenico Nardone Greco di Tufo DOCG. There is much in the way of lemongrass, red apple, pear skin and rockmelon about this wine; generous texture and a pleasant saltiness to round things out. It’s nothing short of delicious and cost me $22 at my local independent food store (they have a very switched on wine buyer named Ernie).

If it means anything, lunch was a tin of anchovies in olive oil, a tub of buffalo mozzarella and half a baguette. I tried to stick to a one-glass-only limit but the heat got to me and I gave in to my thirst.