Blending against climate change with Alois Lageder

Climate change is affecting wine industry in many various aspects. One of the most important issue is acidity in wine. Deprived of this crucial element, wine turns out to be flabby and flat.

Blending against climate is a great initiative of Alois Lageder winery to attract the attention of wine professionals to this burning problem. “Blend your own Porer” kit provides the rare opportunity to create your own assemblage of three different Pinot Grigio samples: direct press, skin contact and whole bunch.

Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio blending kit
Porer blending kit

Before starting the blending exercise, I put the samples in the fridge to chill them down a little. I know that many professionals prefer to taste wines at room temperature as wine tends to show more aromas but reveal faults as well. That day in Bordeaux was quite hot, so I decided to have wines a little cooler to feel freshness and acidity, rather than alcohol.

So, first of all, I tasted each sample separately. Here are my tasting notes:

#1 – Direct press – yellow apple, tomato leaf, salty, buckwheat honey, high acidity, medium “-“ body, a little sparkling.

#2 – Skin contact – very aromatic, peach, pear, high acidity, medium body, a slightly bitter finish. It was a problematic sample as at first there was a pronounced mousiness in the aftertaste. Mousiness is the fault that we can only perceive in the palate, it reminds of popcorn and roasted peanuts. “Souris”, as the French call it, is a typical fault in the low intervention wines. Fortunately, it is not irreversible. Wine makers say that sometimes it appears right after bottling and then it goes away. So I decided to leave the sample in the fridge for some time and wait if this fault disappears.  

#3 – Whole bunch – oxidative, green tea, ripe red apple, medium acidity, medium “+” body, grassiness and slight astringency in the palate, a little sparkling.

I should emphasize that all the samples have great freshness on their own, so I saw my task in trying to balance this acidity with appropriate body and bright fruity aromas.

Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio blending kit
DIrect press, skin contact and whole bunch Pinot Grigio

First try

60% – Direct press 40% – Whole bunch

The blend with a very high acidity which is somehow not balanced by the body. I did not use sample #2 because it was mousy at that moment and as I am very sensitive to the mousiness, I decided to leave it out.

Second try

40% – Direct press 40% – Skin contact 20% – Whole bunch

As the mousiness started to disappear, I decided to use sample #2 in the blend. The wine turned out to be rather balanced, with refreshing acidity and slight bitterness which underlined the complex aromas and overall precise and linear structure of the wine. Good try!

Original blend replica

65% – Direct press 20% – Skin contact 15% – Whole bunch

I was trying to copy the original Porer blend. The wine was less aromatic than the previous one and somehow the alcohol stood out. It seemed to me less balanced and complex than my blend but very fresh and linear. Obviously, when a winemaker creates a blend in the winery, ingredients need some time “to marry” and to find the equilibrium. “Porer” is an outstanding wine and a great example of freshness that Pinot Grigio is able to show in the Alto Adige terroir.

Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio blending kit
Blending in process

My final blend

50% – Direct press 25% – Skin contact 25% – Whole bunch

Very intense aromas of honey, ripe red apple, cantaloupe melon, full-bodied, a slight bitter again but this bitterness adds to the overall freshness of the wine and makes it more gastronomic. I love this phenolic compound in a quality Pinot Grigio.

You can find this more serious style in Alsace, in New Zealand, in Friuli and Alto Adige. Unfortunately, the reputation of variety is distorted by dull, mass production wines from over-producing vineyards. Many sommeliers and wine lovers are unduly snobbish about Pinot Grigio, probably forgetting that it is a mutation of everyone’s favourite, “noble”, elegant, “king of the grapes” – Pinot noir.

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