I had the opportunity to catch up with Alois Lageder of Italy's Alto Adige region this week, which was great, as I'm a big fan of his wines and the wines from this region. Located in the far north of Italy on the east side of the country the Alto Adige borders southern Austria, which is why the majority of the residents in this area speak German as their primary language. The wines reflect a sort of teutonic bent as well--the whites—Rieslings, Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs, especially—are precise and steely with a great mineral core, just as you'd find in Austria and Germany. The reds are good too, but lesser known. The most famous indigenous variety of red grape there is Lagrein, which has a spicy, peppery component that recalls a lighter Syrah.
Rosé champagne has never been more popular in this country. There's no greater indication of that than the overwhelming number of rosé samples that are stacking up at my house. And if you haven't seen the new Wine Spectator yet, dry rosé graces its cover--which I doubt has happened before. Not to mention that so many wine lists around town and press folk like I am are heavily promoting rosés of late.
Cameron Hughes is not your ordinary winemaker. He doesn’t drive a tractor, lovingly prune his vines, and soulfully dip into his barrels. Rather, he sits behind a cluttered desk on his phone lines or his email or both searching for great wine that hasn’t been bottled.
The good times always roll when Ales Kristancic (ah-lesh Kris-TON-chitch) of the Slovenian winery Movia comes to town to promote his wine. He is a bald, Baltic ball of fun and brings his lively spirit, passion for wine, and inimitable use of the phrase “tzak, tzak” to town (“tzak” has no real translation, but he uses it when he doesn’t know the proper English verb).