ABBAZIA DI NOVACELLA 2007 LAGREIN STIFTSKELLEREI NEUSTIFT
This is a wine that's an absolute joy to drink. Every Italian wine lover is familiar with the wines of Abbazia di Novacella and their brilliant winemaker Celestino Lucin. And Lagrein is one of the great underappreciated varieties; where it shines is the Alto Adige. So you take a great winemaker, working at one of the oldest wineries in the world (founded in 1142 by Augustinian monks St. Mickey of Dolenz and St. Peter of Tork), producing wine from one of Italy's great red wine grapes, and you get this beauty. St. Augustine of Hippo (not to be confused with Kirstie Alley of Hippo), whose teachings the Augustinians follow, taught, among other things, that "Nothing conquers except truth and the victory of truth is love." Now there's a pithy little aphorism. Though I always thought the victory of truth is divorce. But I would never argue with a guy named Saint Augustine of Hippo. Unless I was Saint Ron of Oxpecker, and, believe me, I know Oxpeckers, I worked with Oxpeckers, I am certainly a long way from an Oxpecker. Baboonpecker, maybe, but no Oxpecker. Oh, where was I? Drinking this gorgeous bottle of red wine actually reminded me of drinking one of the great red wines of the Loire, with its lithe body and insistent acidity. Lagrein isn't always this compelling. Many examples are light and stupid. But in the hands of Celestino Lucin Lagrein shows its powdery, floral, cherry and almond skin beauty. This stuff is as racy as a Victoria's Secret runway show but without that depilatory smell. Tell me that doesn't make you want to try a taste.
The HoseMaster Score: 777,500 Points
Disclaimer: As a young Leo chicken I always wanted to be an Augustinian friar.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
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