I figured for dinner last night, I had to go with the winner for my wine. But since I was rooting for France, and since I think the French outplayed Italy for most of the game, I picked a wine made in Italy using a French grape in a German-speaking part of the country (to acknowledge the venue).
Actually, this was not the product of careful thought and planning; I just wanted a Pinot Noir to match with grilled salmon-burgers and happened to have an Italian one ready to go.
Alois Lageder 2002 Alto Adige Pinot Nero, $20
The nose starts out like classic Pinot with strawberry/cherry fruit, roses and some earth. Very soon, though, a cheesy funk emerges which is not particularly pleasant but not bad enough to ruin it either. No funk on the palate, which has pleasant tart strawberry/cherry fruit accented by gamy earth. There is a little bitterness on the finish but that does not detract. Light-bodied, silky smooth, better on the palate than the nose. Interesting and worth trying, but not a likely repurchase at $20. It did go very well with dinner. Importer: Alois Lageder USA.
This was only my second Italian Pinot Noir, and not nearly as good as the spectacular Grosjean 2004 Val d'Aosta PN I had a couple of weeks ago. I suspect I'll still stick to Burgundy and Loire for most of my Pinot fixes, though if Chambers Street still has the Grosjean in stock this fall when the weather cools enough to allow for shipping, I'll definitely buy more.