St. Michael-Eppan, Montiggl Riesling, 2010
Saying that I am drinking more Italian wine these days would be almost cheating, at least in the case of today's specimen. After all, Riesling is hardly the grape variety that would make you think of olives, pasta and Mediterranean heat - and the Alto Adige region for some does seem to belong more to the German/Austrian wine world than to Italy. After all Italy's northernmost wine region used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and German is still spoken widely, as is also reflected in my wine labels.
So let's just say I am slowly working my way into the Italian wine world from the north through a multi-cultural sphere of many influences. Is it also a tasty one?
Before we come to the wine itself a few words about the producer. St. Michael-Eppan is a cooperative made of some 350 small wine producers who refer to themselves as the "San Michele brotherhood". The winery was founded in 1907 and the cooperative has had good success selling their wines on the international market - today's Riesling I bought from a London department store. St. Michael-Eppan claim to be "one of the largest and most successful wine businesses of South Tyrol and, indeed, of Italy".
As you would expect from a cooperative the grapes that went into the Riesling come from several vineyards, near Monticcolo (Montiggl in German). It does very much taste of Riesling but has a more savoury seriousness to it than you would expect from the (stereo)typical playful German Rieslings from the Mosel for instance; even so there is a lovely citrus freshness against spicy and almost waxy aromas, flavours and textures. The texture is round and mouth-filling but also has a crunchy bite to it that works nicely with the stone fruit (think mirabelle plum) and menthol and basil herbs flavours. There is a juicy, fruity core and notable acidity attitude in the finish, although the latter has almost too much bite for me. Even so it is an enjoyable Riesling and pleasant detour from my usual German diet.