J. Hofstätter Lagrein 2005

The distinct sourness on the nose here is your first indication that this isn’t a New World wine. The smoke and minerals on the nose are appetizing; the wine is a lovely, dark, inky color and offers up somewhat jammy blackberry fruit as well. Somewhat alarmingly, there also appears to be a fair amount of residual sulfur dioxide that sneaks in from time to time; it’s kind of an off note, but it isn’t too prominent and fades into the background easily enough.In the mouth, the wine seems a bit thin… OK, compared to California red wine, it is perhaps a bit thin, but this is more properly described as elegant. There’s a real fullness of fruit here along with a sort of menthol edge, fading out into a gentle finish with hints of pine resin, peppercorn, and cedar. The sourness makes a return as well, but it’s well integrated into the overall line here. The softness of the finish is also a bit surprising, but also apparently quite typical for this grape variety (I had to look it up; this is the first lagrein I’ve ever tasted).Oddly enough, this wine tastes green to me; if most red wines are red, this one is somehow green. It’s not a capsicum/bell pepper green, but rather woodruff or basil. It’s intriguing and a welcome change from your ordinary Friday night bottle of wine.J. HofstätterPrice: US $16.95Closure: CorkDate tasted: April 2008

Kellerei Cantina Terlan Terlaner 2006

This wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Blanc, 15% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Chardonnay, from the Alto Adige region of Italy. Unusual blend from an Australian perspective. Fermented in stainless steel and left on lees for six months, but with no lees stirring.

I served this a bit cold, so the nose wasn’t really able to express much when first poured. After some time in glass, the wine started to give off attractive, ripe fruit aromas and yeasty notes. The real action, though, is on the palate.

The wine’s entry is immediate and generously delivers bright flavours to the tongue, along with a nice dose of lively acidity. The middle palate sings with tasty fruit — citrus peel and pineapple and an almost overripe muskiness — underpinned and driven by really lovely acidity. Flavours drop off perhaps a little precipitously towards the after palate, but not entirely, so that a subtle echo of the wine’s flavour profile continues to ride the wine’s acid structure for a good amount of time on the finish.

I must say, I’m attracted to this wine very much. It’s not a wine of great sophistication, but it is generous and has a structure that is entirely complimentary to its flavour profile. Recommended.

Kellerei Cantina Terlan
Price: $A29
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2007