The Merano Wine Festival is one of the most important food and wine fairs in Itlay, certainly one of the most awaited festivals not only by all operators of Food and Beverage but also by enthusiast. The fair is held in Merano, of course, a city lso famous for its thermal waters, in the northern region of South Tyrol. It takes place every year, generally in November, since 1992. Since 1993 it has been held at the Kurhaus, a beautiful location in one of the main streets of the historic center.
As a sommelier I have always dreamed of participating in one of the editions of this fair, always hearing beautiful feedbacks from all my friends and colleagues in this sector. Last year I was finally able to participate, spending two intense days in Merano, where not only did I visit the wine festival but I also visited one of the most important wineries in the area, I got to know the reality of one of the most important companies in the world for barrels production and I had dinner in one of the most incredible restaurants in Merano. So I divided my experience in different posts, each one dedicate to one of these experiences, Alois Lageder visits, Mittelberger cooperage, the wines at the fair and the Miil restaurant experience. Here I am talking about the visit and lunch at Alois Lageder, enjoy the reading !
We left Montalcino very early, in order to reach Magrè, the small village where the Alois Lageder winery is located, at 10.30am ready for our visit. Obviously it was raining heavily, I did not expect otherwise, slowly you will get used to rain in my travels and trips !
We were welcomed by Peter, one of the three Mittelberger brothers, he has been our guide for the day, you can imagine what honor it was for us. We immediately started the tour of the cellar, we did observe the various barrel at rest in the Alois Lageder cellar while Peter told us a bit of history of the area and of the family that runs the winery.
The company owns 55 hectares of vineyards which are cultivated and vinified with the utmost respect for nature and local traditions. With an eye to sustainability and ecosystem maintenance, the intervention in the vineyards are very small and they try to expand their biodiversity by importing new plants and insects that collaborate with the vegetative and productive cycle of the vines. Wine producers since generations, the Lageder family has been engaged on various fronts with the company, not only that of maintaining and sustaining the company’s processes, which like a microcosm must be self-sufficient in all its functions, but also in that of the research and development. The constant research, the achievement (with old and new ways) and the maintenance of quality have always been the cardinal point around which the whole world of the family, of the winery, revolves. I would not like to dwell too much on the company itself, as I would like to talk about the wines, so for those who are interested in deepen these arguments and learning more about it, I suggest to visit their company website which is highly exhaustive on what is their reality.
The winery conveys all this, historicity, attention to nature, wine, Eco-sustainabilty, tradition and experimentation together, in complete harmony between people, wine and hospitality.
After the tour in the cellar we went to the bistro, the Paradeis, to continue the experience with a lunch, accompanied by a tasting of some of their wines.
This Chardonnay takes its name from the Baron Gaun, first owner of the estate before the arrival of the Lageder family. Certified Demeter, this wine from the bio-dynamic line, is aged for about 9 months on the fine lees, partly in wood and partly in stain and steel. It is a wine with a bright, lively color, very delicate aroma of flowers and fruit on the nose, some spicy notes but never covering the fruit. In the mouth it is soft, dry and medium acidity and structure. An excellent appetizer wine and amazing paired with grilled fish.
The Pinot Grigio, always Demeter certified, is one of their experiment wine, in fact it sees three types of wine making, all in one bottle. A part is vinified immediately, with a classic white vinification, a second part is left for 15 hours with skin contact, and finally the third part makes a year of skin and stalks contact maceration. The aromas are more spicy here and more mineral, in the mouth the wine has more structure and is extremely lively.
MIN XVI – CUSTODIRE
This wine is part of the Comete line, as can also be seen from the label that represents a hand-drawn comet with a fingertip, and that one is their experimentation line. There are ten wines/labels in the Comete line, each with a specific purpose and message. The idea here was born from the need to have a fresher Gewurztraminer, following a full cluster vinification.
The tasting could not end without a taste of their Schiava, grape variety emblem of the South Tyrol even if lost in recent decades as a wine more focused on aromas and elegance than on structure and powerful notes. Very few producers are recovering their fate. The Schiava from Lageder, grown as Pergola, as tradition prefers, is vinified with percentages of whole bunches that emerge notes of fruit, in the mouth the body is vertical and very elegant.
The Paradeis is a magnificent bistro in an almost more Northern European than Italian style, where you can shop for local food products (including of course the Alois Lageder wines), where you can stop to read one of the books on display, or to have lunch, or to have an aperitif or a guided tasting of their wines. We had lunch and it was a really pleasant experience, which left us a beautiful 360-degrees understanding of what is the reality of the Lageder family in this area. So if you are in the way to Merano or Bolzano, I strongly recommend a stop in Magrè, you will not regret it.