In Tune With Nature, Making Distinctive Wines At Alois Lageder Winery

As human beings, we all crave a connection to nature.  It's a biological imperative!  But many of us spend way too much time inside, going from air-conditioned offices to air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned homes.  When the weekend or a vacation from work arrives, we do whatever it takes—stressful, long car rides on traffic-jammed highways or time-consuming and aggravating trips to the airport—to find that time to be outside.   Perhaps you head for a lake, jumping in to cool off or feeling the wind whipping your hair around as you skim the surface of the water in a speedboat.  You might prefer time on a beach, watching and listening as the waves come crashing into shore, or maybe it's hiking on the trails of a steep mountain under the shade of enormous trees which awakens your spirit.  

Stopping to "smell the roses" (something I always stop to do when I'm out for a run or a walk) reminds us that we are all connected to each other in this great big world.  And by "we" I mean everything, not just other people, but also the land, the sea, plants and animals, the sun, the wind, the rain and on and on—in short, the universe.  By slowing down to connect with nature, we are feeding our souls, just as we feed our bodies with food.

beautiful mountain vineyards

beautiful mountain vineyards

Father and Son, Both named Alois.

Father and Son, Both named Alois.

Recently I spent time with Alois Clemens Lageder, who goes by Clemens, the humble, down-to-earth sixth generation winemaker at Alois Lageder in Northern Italy's Alto Adige.  Clemens is following in his father's footsteps with the philosophy of keeping their winemaking connected to nature, making high-quality wine inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, known as the father of biodynamic farming.  The winery's 125 acres of family-owned vineyards have been fully converted to biodynamics since 2004. 

At dinner we sampled the three lots of pinot grigio which will be blended to make the Porer.  Notice how different the color of each one is!  The darker the color, the longer the time spent on the skins and the richer and more complex the flavor was.

At dinner we sampled the three lots of pinot grigio which will be blended to make the Porer.  Notice how different the color of each one is!  The darker the color, the longer the time spent on the skins and the richer and more complex the flavor was.

The winery produces interesting, complex and food-friendly wines from several different classic grape varieties—Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Lagrein, Cabernet Sauvignon, to name a few.  One of my favorites is the Porer Pinot Grigio, an unusual white wine, full of fresh flavors, tension and precision, unlike any other Pinot Grigio I've had.  Its a blend of three lots of juice that have spent varying times of contact with the skins and stems making it an extremely aromatic (think crushed rocks, peaches and white flowers) white wine with strong minerality and an opulent texture.  Even better, it's a steal for $26.99 at Grape Collective (email me at lisa@thewinechef.com if you want some bottles sent your way).  Pair this amazing wine with everything from Ricotta Toasts with Truffle and Honey to Cod with Clams and Butter Beans, Shrimp Lettuce Wraps, Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks to Pork Chops with Tomato, Sage and Thyme and Roast Chicken.

Read the article about this trailblazing winery by clicking here.  Cheers!

Listen below to Clemens talking a bit about the diversity found in the Alto Adige wine region.

Feudi Di San Gregorio Wines - Finding Beauty In The Ashes Of Destruction

Feudi di San Gregorio is an innovative producer of high-quality wines in the Campania region of southwestern Italy.  There has been a long history of volcanic eruptions here, some having destroyed entire communities in just one day.  Yet, throughout history people have continued to risk everything to settle close to volcanoes.  Why?  It all comes down to the rich, fertile soils which evolve over time from the deposits of lava, ash and other materials.  

Last month I sat down with Antonio Capaldo, president and second generation winemaker to discuss the impact of these soils on the Feudi di San Gregorio wines.  "Volcanic soils bring minerality to the wine ... they give stronger body, longer finish, and then almost a salty aftertaste that is incredibly interesting when you're pairing them with food".

See the video interview and read the full article about this innovative winery at GrapeCollective.com

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Feudi di San Gregorio makes aromatic wines of great complexity using indigenous grape varieties — Aglianico for its reds and Fiano, Greco and Falanghina for the whites.