Alto Adige
About the Producer: 
As the ancient capital of the South Tryol, Bolzano upholds the admirable Austrian traditions of growing vines within the city limits. The wines of renown is Sankt Magedalener, the zesty red whose terraces vineyards grace the precipitous slopes to the northeast of the urban center. But the wine that lies closest to Bolzano’s hear – literally and figuratively- is Lagrein, whose vines are nurtured within the walled “wine gardens” of Gries, the western quarter of the city. The origins of the vine are not certain, though Lagrein has established its prime habitat as Gries in the sandy clay soils of the alluvial plain formed by the Talvera. Isarco and Adige rivers at a place known in the Middle Ages as Cheller (wine cellar). The Benedictine monks of Muri-Gries have been cultivating Lagrein since 1845 around the monastery, which they took over from the Augustinians, who had converted it from the twelfth-century Castle of Gries. I first tasted Lagrein in the 1970’s with Padre Gregor, the swiss monk who was then abbot and winemaker. We began with Lagrein Kretzer, aluminous rose, but the revelation was the dark Lagrein Dunkel, whose deep, opulent bouquet and flavors have lingered in my memory since. Today the winemaker is Christian Werth, a layman who has given Lagrein unprecedented finesse without sacrificing its time-honored stature in the reserve known as Abtei Muri. Christian prefers Lagrein relatively young, at about five or six years of age, though some admires attest that it reaches peaks of splendor after a decade. Klosterkelleri Muri- Gries owns 32 hectares of vines, including those for Lagrein at Gries and others at Eppan/Appiano west of Bozano fro Alto Adige/Sudtiroler DOC’s notable Cabernet and the sweet pink Rosenmuskateller.