Friday, June 6, 2008

J. Hofstatter Lagrein 2003

Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Alto Adige, Product of Italy. 13% alcohol, $19.98.

The color was dark, almost black, with bright purple edges. Te cork was almost black, with wine almost half an inch up the edges.

Right out the bottle this wine had a huge nose of blueberry, burnt caramel and vanilla. The palate started with bright red fruits and cranberries, followed by a touch of mint and some orange peel. Mild velvety tannins only showed up at the finish, which dropped quickly but not entirely, lingering with berries and cream.

This is a very good wine and at a very good price. I am curious to see if it opens more overnight and becomes something extraordinary.

Second night. Now it is a softer, more balanced, mature-tasting wine. Four or five hours open, plus a night under the Vacuu-Vin, have the same effect as several hours of decanting, giving just enough instant-aging to give you an idea how it might change with more cellar time.

The nose with not as explosive, but surrendered more layers, including dark cherry, plum, cloves, black pepper and, at the end, a touch of mint. The palate changed rom last night's slightly acidic red fruits to softer black ones, including blackberry and black cherries, plus cloves and lavendar. About an hour after re-opening it started with cocoa and black fruit, followed by the tarter cherries, cloves, and florals. Tannins were far less obvious on the much softer finish.

This was a good wine, an interesting wine, offering plenty of tastes and layers. Based upon its changes overnight, I also think it could benefit from another year or two, not much more, in the cellar.

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