Place over grape: making wine waves in Southern Styria (p. 1)

By Panos Kakaviatos for wine-chronicles.com

Take a walk along the sinuous and sumptuous Southern Styrian wine region in Ratsch today and it is hard to believe that but 40 years ago, it was a very poor area with few if any winemakers and many more farmers. Taxes were paid to local officials with oxen or farm produce. “There was no money,” remarked Tamara Kögl of the domain that bears her family nameI met Tamara in May 2014 at the 8th Symposium of the Institute of Wine Masters in Florence where she poured some of her wines and invited me to come visit.

Welcome to Weingut Kögl

Although just a weekend in July 2014, the visit was packed with walks, tastings and great meals. Heartfelt thanks to Tamara for showing me the fine terroirs of Ratsch and explaining more generally trends in Southern Styria while hosting me at her gorgeous family estate. In addition to tasting her wines, she introduced me to many other wines of the region including those from Weingut Gross and  Weingut Tement, which will be discussed in more detail in parts 2 and 3 of this blog. 

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The ”unhidden gem” of Italy: Lugana DOC (3)

By Rita Tóth, for wine-chronicles.com 

(This three-part blog also has appeared in Jens De Maere’s Belgian Wino blog with full permission of the author)

METODO CLASSICO SPARKLING WINES OF LUGANA DOC

After having tasted some lovely wines in part one and part two of this blog, what really impressed me during our trip was the quality of classic method sparkling wines, especially from wineries detailed below.

The style is different from the ‘Champagne style’, as even the longest ageing on lees (60 months for Ca’Maiol) shows hardly any toastiness or yeastiness, but rather amazingly fresh floral and fruity notes, reminiscent of yellow apple, pear and blossom combined with a hint of minerality. This difference could be explained by the grape variety, which has high and enduring natural acidity, its aromatic profile and that the best producers do not use reserve wine for blending. ‘Millesimato’ means ‘vintage’ and in most cases contains wine 100% from the given year.

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The ”unhidden gem” of Italy: Lugana DOC (2)

By Rita Tóth, for wine-chronicles.com 

(This three-part blog also has appeared in Jens De Maere’s Belgian Wino blog with full permission of the author)

Part 1 was a short overview of the Lugana region, but now we examine the surprising aging potential of some of its best wines.

AGEING POTENTIAL

Although 90% of the regions’ production is the ’basic Lugana’ style – as Italian consumers tend to drink the wine within one year – the average aging potential of the best Lugana wines ranges between 10-15 years, based on my tasting experiences.

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They show their best at this age, although I encountered others that could age longer, due to the high tartaric acid and dry extract content of the grape variety itself. The mineral quality of the wines develops by aging. The early stages are about fruit and freshness, but – trust me – it’s worth waiting a bit more.

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The “unhidden gem” of Italy: Lugana DOC (1)

By Rita Tóth, for wine-chronicles.com 

(This three-part blog also has appeared in Jens De Maere’s Belgian Wino blog with full permission of the author)

Even though more than 70% of Lugana DOC wines are exported – mainly to Germany, USA, Belgium, Northern Europe, China, Japan and UK – many people may have never heard of this fine Italian wine region because it is a small appellation in the southern part of Lake Garda in Northern Italy. A gem of a location, divided between the provinces of Veneto and Lombardy.

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During a 4-day trip organized and fully paid by Consorzio Tutela Lugana and Fermenti Digitali, our group of #winelovers managed to taste wines from over 25 producers which gave us thorough insight into this 1,200 ha large region which actually packs in some 120 or so producers.

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Thierry Brouin of Clos des Lambrays

For the past 35 years, Thierry Brouin, 66, has been winemaking director at Domaine des Lambrays in Morey St Denis. Formerly a consultant for the national French appellation authority INAO (1975-1980) and an oenologist by training, Brouin is widely recognized as having revived the fortunes of the estate – which is mainly known for its production of the grand cru Clos des Lambrays. He will stay on as director following the purchase of the domain for about €100m this past April by the French luxury group LVMH.

Look out for my feature article in Decanter on Clos des Lambrays.

question-and-answer profile with Mr. Brouin has now been published in Wine-Searcher.com.

Exclusive to wine-chronicles: his opinions on natural wine, on climate change and other interesting stuff :-).

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