Two words to help you fake out a Sommelier
Alois Lageder Gewürtztraminer 2013 $26
You can spend years and years studying wine, blind tasting, meeting vintners all in an effort to impress sommeliers. Or you can cheat by learning a few key producers from a few key producer’s that—if you pull it off right—will accomplish exactly the same thing. Don’t believe me? Order a bottle of anything that the Piedmontese producer Vietti produces—I don’t care the year and I don’t even care if it’s red or white—and watch the somm’s reaction. They’ll think you’re a rockstar.
I was thinking about this the other day as I happened to be having lunch with Alois Clemens Lageder, the 6th generation of the Lageder family to take up the reigns working at one of the worlds great wine producers. We don’t see these wines up here enough, which is a shame because once you remember the name you’ll see it pop up on great wine lists when you travel, such is the reputation of the winery. To the extent that most people know them here it’s as a winery that showed with the proper terrior (they’re located in the Dolomites in the far north of Italy) and proper winemaking, Italian Pinot Grigio, the ubiquitous staple on the summer patio, could reach heights of greatness.
I’m happy to report that their Pinot Grigio still soars (and at $18 it’s actually less than Santa Margherita, which is wrong on so many levels), and in fact ordering it shows that you know enough about wine to be confident ordering a Pinot Grigio in the face of somm scrutiny. Just make sure you order the “Lageder Pinot” with the emphasis on the first word. The winery also makes a slew of other amazing wines: atypical Merlots, a stellar Pinot Bianco, and super fresh and lively Pinot Noir, none of which you can get in BC or Alberta. What you can get is a Gewürtztraminer that you don’t need to apologize for. Made bone dry, it still has the intoxicating floral notes that are the grape’s hallmark but the finish is crisp and clean with a nice acidic bite that would allow this wine to pair with a much broader spectrum of Thai and Chinese food than a sweeter Gewürtz would have.
So if a one winery can rehabilitate Italian Pinot Grigio and Gewürtztraminer it’s scant surpise that there name is gold with your sommeliar. Just one last thing —don’t do all this work just to fudge the pronounciation. Its A-Loyz LAG-ed-er.
So now you’re set.