Lechthaler Riesling 2015
An excellent aperitif; ideal with delicate soups, vegetable risottos, and seafood courses.
A symbol of the heavy Austrian influence on winemaking in the region, the Lechthaler name had been making local varietal wines since 1905. One of the first producers in the area to sell its wines in bottles instead of 20-30 liter barrels, Lechthaler’s innovative production philosophy was a draw for the Togn family. The two families enjoyed a great synergy, working together for years before the Togn family acquired the brand from the Lechthaler family in the mid-1980s. To this day, Lechthaler is a highly representative line that produces historically cultivated varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Teroldego at a high quality level.
After over three decades of dedicated service, Luigi Togn continues to lead his brands today, assisted by his daughters: Romina, who is responsible for marketing; Valentina, who deals with production and Martina, who handles the administration. Goffredo Pasolli, his son-in-law, has also joined the family business as head enological technician.
Trentino, the southern half, is primarily Italian-speaking and largely responsible for the production of non-native, international grapes. There is a significant quantity of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot produced. But Trentino's native and most unique red variety, Teroldego, while still rare, is gaining popularity. It produces a deeply colored red wine rich in wild blackberry, herb, coffee and cocoa.
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure.
The primary white grapes are Pinot grigio, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc, as well as smaller plantings of Sauvignon blanc, Müller Thurgau. These tend to be bright and refreshing with crisp acidity and just the right amount of texture. Some of the highest quality Pinot grigio in Italy is made here.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.