Lagrein is a red wine grape varietal with origns to the South Tyrol Valley in north-east Italy. The name was found in 17th century records of the Muri Benedictine Monastery near Bolzano. But other sources claim the varietal could date back to 1379AD. It was thought the grape came over from Greece and the origins of the name ‘Lagrein’ are either from the Greek word lagarinthos (hanging), or the Greek Colony of Lagaria in southern Italy.
More recently it is thought the name comes from the Lagarina Valley in Trentino, south of Alto Adige. Whatever the source of the name, its origin is no longer in doubt, with recent DNA testing in 2004 having shown that its parent grapes are; Teroldego crossed with Schiava Gentile - and it is related to Syrah, Pinot Noir and Dureza.

 

These connections strongly indicate that the Lagrein grape varietal was born in the Trentino / Alto-Adige wine region. Today it is slightly less difficult, to find Lagrein grown and produced outside of Alto Adige region - which in 2015 had around 650 hectares. As in Australia there are a small handful of pioneering wine producers, mostly found in the cooler parts of the country, crafting interesting Lagrein wines. Plus there small parcels of Lagrein grown in the Central Coast region of California, where it produces single varietal wines and can also be found to be blended with Syrah and Durif.
The cultivation of the Lagrein grape varietal in southern Tyrol typically produces red wines with highly tannins named; Lagrein Scuro, or Lagrein Dunkel, though they can also produce fragrant Rosé wines named; Lagrein Rosato, or Lagrein Kretzer. In recent years, winemaking techniques have changed, practicing much shorter maceration periods and the subtle use of oak to achieve less aggressive flavours and earlier drinking styles.
Near the Austrian border in northern Italy, the Alto Adige wine region is renowned for producing excellent expressions of Lagrein which pair externally well with local game dishes. As the area of Alto Adige is very close to the Austrian border and having shared a history - hence both languages can appear on a wine label.
Lagrein is one of Alto Adige’s leading red wine varietals, and if managed well in the vineyard can produce wines with character, having recently experienced a genuine renaissance. Lagrein is impressive with its aromas of berries, fresh cherries, and violets. On the palate, it demonstrates a rich texture, confident tannins and balanced acidity, along with flavours of chocolate, herbs and plum characters. After aging in small oak barrels, spice notes lend additional charm and character to the top quality expressions.