Lagrein (pronounced lah-GRAH’EEN, lah-GRINE or lah-GRI’NE)[1] is a red wine grape variety native to the valleys of South Tyrol, northern Italy. Along with Marzemino, it is a descendant of Teroldego, and related to Syrah, Pinot noir and Dureza.

The name suggests its origins lie in the Lagarina valley of Trentino. It was mentioned as early as in the 17th century, in records of the Muri Abbey near Bolzano.

The variety is ferociously vigorous, with drooping canes and a tendency to grow lateral shoots, making canopy management a key issue in cooler areas. It is a generous yielding variety, so overcropping can also be a problem. In the Peter May/Victoria cultivar at least, the variety is deeply coloured, tannic and has very good acidity at ripeness. Unusually, even the free run juice is tannic.

Lagrein produces wine which has high acidity and low pH, and is also highly tannic, which is why blending with less tannic varietals works so well. Eric Asimov says Lagrein produces "congenial, straightforward wines that can be deliciously plummy, earthy and chewy, dark and full-bodied but not heavy, with a pronounced minerally edge."

As a single varietal wine, Lagrein can be extremely astringent. To manage this, winemakers give the wine long periods of barrel maturation (>18 months) or for younger fresher wines, pre-fine the juice to remove tannins before fermentation. Lagrein produces a very deep yet intense red color in wine, with notable hues of purple which can be seen especially in the macerated juice. The variety typically shows a rich berry-fruit mid palate, savoury tobacco/leather/mushroom notes and some sour cherry astringency on the finish.


Grape Colour: Black
Major regions: Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
Notable wines: Lagrein Scuro, Lagrein Dunkel, Lagrein Rosato, Lagrein Kretzer