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Lechthaler Teroldego Rotaliano 2013
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.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.