Friday, April 12, 2019

Biodynamic Wines of the Alto Adige with Alois Lageder

Last month I shared some organic wines of La Valentina in the Abruzzo wine region of Italy.  Today we’re taking it one step further and going biodynamic with Alois Lageder from the Alto Adige wine region with our Wine Pairing Weekend crew.  
The Land 
Coming together as one region, Trentino-Alto Adige, with Alto Adige to the northern part of the region bordering Austria and Trentino to the south.  The region, once part of Austria, became a part of Italy in 1918 after World War I.  As you can imagine there are many cultural influences here because of the mix of cultures with both Italian and German spoken there. 
Trentino-Alto Adige is also part of the Tre Venezie with the Veneto and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy as they were all once part of the Venetian Empire as well. 
Due to Alto Adige’s proximity to the Dolomite mountain range the climate has very cold winters, but otherwise it basks in 300 days of sunshine highlighting a warm Mediterranean climate outside of the winter months with cool nights providing optimal grape growing conditions.   
Alois Lageder biodynamic wines Alto Adige
The Grapes 
Alto Adige along with its counterpart Trentino share some similaries with their northern neighbors, Austria and Germany, in the fact that they produce along of single varietals leaning towards more German style grapes like riesling, muller thurgau, sylvaner and gewurztraminer.   

This region like most of Trentino-Alto Adige have always been dominated by co-operatives and as you’ll see below Alois Lageder works with many other growers as well as their own estate grapes.   
I’m featuring both of Alois Lageder’s pinot grigio and pinot biancoSo you may ask what is the difference between both pinot bianco and pinot grigio.  They both originate from the same pinot family in different mutations, as if that was hard to tell.  They are both white grapes and pinot bianco is typically more lighter in style and occasionally can be aged in some oak.  It’s usually more rounder than pinot grigio and a little less acidity.   
Schiava, on the other hand, is a light styled red wine, known as vernatsch in German.  It is a grape that prefers the shade therefore Alois Lageder grows them under pergola trellis vines.  Lower in tannin and acid it lends flavors of strawberries, raspberries and ripe cherries.  I really enjoy this grape, especially in the warmer months when I am all white wined out and am looking for something red, light in body but with plenty of flavor.  
The Winery 
Alois Lageder is well respected wine producer in the region of Alto Adige.  The winery was established back in 1823 and is today operated by both the 5th and 6th generations. The wineries slogan upon visiting their website is “cultivating nature as a habitat of life”.  Their belief is that practicing organics and biodynamics enriches their landscape by enriching the soil and creating a diverse environment for all beings.  Perfect to our theme this month on biodynamics and how passionate some of these wine producers are about not only producing high quality wines, but also preserving the land for today and generations to come. 
Alois Lageder winery in Alto Adige
Clemens and Alois Lageder
Local farmers bring their cows during the fall and winter into the vineyards increasing the vitality of their grapes.  As with all organic and biodynamic practices no chemicals or synthetic substances are allowed.   

Collaborates with 80 grape growers throughout the Alto Adige covering about 250 acres that are about 50% biodynamic and organic as well as their own estate vineyards of about 135 acres that are completely organic and biodynamic.  They are looking to get everyone converted over to the Demeter certification by 2023 so they work very closely with their farmers.  All grapes are hand picked and vinified back at the Alois Lageder winery.  Over 25 different grape varietals are grown under the Alois Lageder brand. 
Its terrain is very steep with vineyards situated at about 700 to 4200 feet growing over 25 different grapes.   
Alois Lageder wines of Alto Adige
The Wines 
2017 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco IGT 
A light straw-colored wine.  Aromatics of peaches, pineapple, citrus and apple.  Light in body, but good acid with a nice crispness coming through clean with mostly citrus.  This wine was still drinking well for me after a few days shockingly (yes it did last that long since I’m the only one that drinks in my house).  Just a perfect wine coming into spring.  Light enough to sip on, but plenty to liven up the day.  ABV 13% SRP $15 
2017 Alois Lageder PORER Pinot Grigio  
What’s unique about this particular wine is the way in which it was produced.  Part of the grapes were pressed upon arrival to the winery.  Another part of the grapes were left in contact with the skins for 15 hours.  Lastly, another part was left to sit with the stems and skins for a year.  So as you can imagine this isn’t your average pinot grigio.  It was lively wine with nice aromatics of stone fruit.  Rather fuller than your average pinot grigio, but fresh with some nice salinity.  ABV 12.5% SRP $26 
2017 Alois Lageder Schiava  
Apparently Alto Adige was mostly a red wine region until the 1970’s per their website and schiava was king.  Definitely opposite of how this wine region is positioned today primarily as a white wine region.  It’s very pale in color, ruby almost a dusty rose.  With notes of cherry this schiava is light in body, soft and elegant with a hint of strawberry.   ABV 12$ SRP $16  

Pairing: I paired this wine with a creamy pasta with salmon and spinach.  I typically always prefer white wine with fish, but always enjoy a lighter style red with salmon and this schiava was a great match.
schiava wine pairing with salmon pasta
I don’t envy those that tend to the grapes and the vines as well as those that partake at harvest as Alois Lageder’s vineyards are very steep situated between 700 to 4200 feet.  That along with the close attention to practices of organics and biodynamics shows you the passion that these growers have invested in these wines and is solely the reason why I love sharing these stories with you!  

Join the rest of our Wine Pairing Weekend group of fine wine and food bloggers below and on our live Twitter chat at #winepw this Saturday April 13th at 11am EST. 


  1. Thanks for the introduction. I'll be trying to track down some bottles of these wines. They sound fascinating, especially the schiava.

  2. The first picture of the Alto Adige wine region looks really beautiful - another wine region on my bucket list. Also want to try the 2017 Alois Lageder Schiava!

  3. I'm very familiar with this producer, although I'm not entirely sure why. I think I've had the wines before! I'll have to look for that Schiava! Like you say, it's a great picnic wine when you want a chillable red wine (reminds me of Grignoligno in that regard)

  4. I've always enjoyed their wines and now will enjoy them even more knowing there is so much care given behind the scenes. Such an ambitious goal to get so many growers over to biodynamics! I;m also in love with that picture of flowers on the mountains. (And apologies -- I could have sworn I left a comment a few days ago, but not sure what happened!)