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