Italian Riesling? It happens. Italian Riesling was going to be my subject matter today regardless of how the bottle I finally sourced from Italian Ebay turned out (Martilde Gelo Riesling). It's not so easy to find and there is a very good reason for this! Riesling is grown successfully in many wine growing regions. Of course, Germany and Alsace but also New Zealand, Australia and the USA are producing highly acclaimed Riesling. In Italy the production is tiny with just a handful of vineyards in the northern parts of the country having a bash at it.
I've been on a personal Riesling bender for the past month and so wanted nothing more than last nights bottle of Italian Riesling to be every bit as good as those from NZ, Aus and the US. If you've been reading wine90 over the past 4 weeks you'll have noticed I took a trip to the Rheingau and my time there firmly cemented my adore of German Riesling. Italian Riesling would have been the perfect marriage, my favourite white grape (currently) and my favourite wine growing country, Italy. Sadly, twas not to be.
Everything about this wine was interesting. Firstly, the producers have named this wine after their dog and have a drawing of said pooch on the label which immediately makes me happy. Secondly, they are coming out of Lombardy which I think I've mentioned twice on the blog so that excited me. Thirdly, this was an Italian Riesling and lastly, they produce tiny quantities so it appealed to my culty, nerdy, obsessional need to find unique wines and bargains.
Then I opened it and much like Pandora, soon wished I had not. This isn't to say all Italian Riesling is bad. I am working on the basis of this one bottle and a small tasting history of a handful of other producers but in my experience Italian Rieslings are among the dullest Rieslings out there. There's really no need for them. When the rest of the world does it so well and we're struggling to produce something outside of Gotham (as the Italians call Milan) perhaps it's time to bin the idea and just refocus on our own fantastic whites.
Martilde Gelo Riesling 2006 - PASS - €8
Bright yellow colour in the glass, decent nose, stone fruits and floral notes. Low acidity on the palate, fruit disappears and a flabby texture to the wine let it down, mid bodied with a fair finish. 79 Points
I don't want to be too hard on this wine, it came from Ebay so really we don't know how well the wine has been stored but I wasn't getting any impression that the wine was faulty. The 2006 Lombardy vintage was hardly a sparkler either and I have heard good things about this producer in the past, hence, why I bought the wine in the first place. I will advise you though, to just skip Italian Riesling, there is better value Riesling out there and by far better quality. Riesling is high acidity, it's not that this wine is so bad, just that it doesn't tick the Riesling boxes.
Where can I buy this wine?
Are you some kind of glutton for punishment? My searches for this wine online have turned up fruitless anyway. Much like the wine.
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If you named your wine after your pet would it sell and what varietal would it be?
My wine would be called Bambi, would be a zesty Zinfandel and would be deer. Guffaw. You?
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