Lagrein is an Italian red wine grown in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy. Lagrein is prized for its full-bodied flavours of blackberry, plum, raspberry, dark chocolate and smoky flavours. You’ll also find earthy notes of herbs, spice, tar, leather, meat and tobacco, which add a touch of complexity to this wine. Grown in a cool climate, Lagrein has a fresh acidic structure, followed up with an astringent finish, which makes it lovely with a wide variety of foods.
Lagrein is a likeable and crowd-pleasing red wine that is both rare and inexpensive. Most bottles will cost you under twenty dollars, as this remarkable red wine does not receive a lot of fanfare in North America. Lagrein is also consistent in quality.
No matter what bottle you buy, provided it’s between $15-$25, it will taste delicious, fruity and have a kiss of earthiness, dark chocolate and smoke. Those who love wine often refer to Lagrein as a wine that’s “off the beaten path.” That’s not to say Lagrein marches to the beat of its own drummer, but rather this is a wine that is often hidden from the public eye, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
Speck is a smoky cured meat made from ham that is made in Alto Adige where Lagrein is also produced. While similar to Prosciutto, has enough of a distinction to set it apart in terms of flavour in that Speck has deeper flavours of smoke and is laced with juniper and bay leaf.
The fresh acidity of Lagrein is wonderful with Speck as the tartness of the wine cuts through the wel-0marbled fat and keeps your mouth refreshed with silky flavours of cherry, plum, blackberry and raspberry. Meanwhile, the smoky element of Lagrein complements the deep smoky flavours of Speck. Finally, the leather, meat, tar, tobacco and dark chocolate flavours of Lagrein pop out as they merge with the dense flavours of Speck.
Shepherd’s Pie & Lagrein Pairing
Shepherd’s Pie is a lamb-based stew packed into a delicious pie topped with a crust or browned mashed potatoes. On top of the Lamb, you’ll find root vegetables, corn, gravy, peas and a variety of other vegetables.
Shepherd’s Pie requires an acidic red wine like Lagrein, as the fresh acidity allows for all the individual ingredients to stand out. Not only will the Lamb taste amazing, but you’ll taste each pea, carrot and kernel of corn in every bite. The earthy flavours of smoke, tar, leather and spice complement the gaminess of the Lamb, as well as the earthy flavours of the gravy. Meanwhile, the refreshing fruit flavours of Lagrein keep your mouth energized as it washes the fatty gravy off your taste buds with each sip.
Grilled Flank Steak & Lagrein Pairing
Flank Steak is the perfect grilling steak for a crowd, such as for an outdoor wedding reception. Moderately fatty, Flank steak holds its juiciness well if cooked to medium rare and is quite tender provided that it’s sliced across the grain. Served with a nice dry rub, you’ll get a nice crust that complements the earthy flavours of smoke, leather, meat, chocolate, tobacco and tar in Lagrein. Meanwhile, the smooth raspberry, plum and cherry brighten up the meaty but tender Flank Steak flavours.
As Flank Steak is only moderately fatty, you’re not going to find a lot of flavour. While Lagrein is a full-bodied red wine, it won’t overwhelm your Flank Steak, as it’s full of fresh acidity, which heightens any food it is paired with. Meanwhile, you still have plenty of tannin to denature the proteins in the steak, making the meat taste even more tender. Fruity, earthy, inexpensive, and fresh, Lagrein is a crowd-pleasing red wine that would be wonderful with grilled Flank Steak served at a banquet or wedding.
Grilled Pork Chops & Lagrein Paring
Pork Chops, while delicious, aren’t incredibly flavourful, which is why we often bread them or spice them up with herbs and pepper. A strong tannic red, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, is too much for Pork Chops and will drown out all the pork flavour. Lagrein, while containing tannin, is balanced more towards being acidic, thus, even though it’s a full-bodied red wine, it won’t wash away the delicious pork flavours you’re in the mood for. If your Pork Chops are breaded or spruced up with Corn Flakes, the acidity also cuts through the carbohydrate layer, where it will make that delicious pork flavour squeal.
Smoky, chocolaty herbal and spicy, Lagrein complements the grilled nature of your Pork Chops. The charred marks of the Pork Chops also help these earthy flavours of Lagrein stand out, making for a fantastic food and wine pairing. Finally, if your Pork Chops aren’t breaded, you run the risk of overcooking your Pork Chops, making them taste dry, as there’s no breading to hold the moisture in. Fortunately, the cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum flavours of Lagrein keep your mouth refreshed, so the Pork Chops never taste dry at all.
Grilled Tuna Steak & Lagrein Pairing
Lagrein isn’t all red meat and pork oriented and pairs wonderfully with fatty fish like Tuna and Salmon. Medium in tannin and high in acidity, the fresh and fruity flavours of Lagrein provide plenty of refreshment against a meaty Tuna Steak. There’s just enough tannin in Lagrein to help break down the heavy proteins, bringing out even more flavour of the Tuna. Meanwhile, the smoke and dark chocolate edge of Lagrein complements the charred skin of a grilled tuna steak.
I would not pair Lagrein with Tuna Steak that has a raw center, however, as it will overwhelm the delicate flavours of the raw tuna. Instead, you’ll want to pair Lagrein with a thick slab of moderately Tuna Steak that has been cooked all the way through. Most of the Tuna’s flavours will be cooked out, and there won’t be much to taste anyway, making the fruity flavours of Lagrein a welcomed distraction.