Is it too early to say that Italy, once haughtily ignored, is making a comeback on the Wine Rambler? In November, Torsten has had his eyes opened by a white from Trentino, and I, for my part, am more and more impressed with its northern neighbour, Alto Adige.
Now that everybody seems to concur that 2012 was over the roof on the banks of the Adige and the Isarco rivers, I have looked closer on reports of the last few vintages, and would you believe it, this has been going on for some time: Excellent on international varietals like Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, excellent on local growths like the reds Lagrein and Vernatsch.
So I've woken up to it: The Alto Adige has been stealthily creeping up on us. We can't have that, of course. So at the risk of blurring our core germanic focus, I will from time to time over the coming year report on what I have stocked up on.
Starting today with a Pinot Blanc from the Adige/Etsch valley, halfway between Bolzano and Trentino, and produced by one of the region's modernised, competitive growers' cooperatives.
Straw-coloured with a pale green tinge, and smelling of fresh green herbs and lemon grass. Somehow, the mental image of a green, reedy lakeshore came to me after the first whiff and stayed, and it seemed to fit the palate as well. There, a cold dry fire of herbs and hay is burning away, rounded off with the tiniest hint of an almond crust, but this last component needs a good bit of airing out to bring it about. Very dry and with some alcoholic depths beneath its calmly rippling surface, this was a bit too powerful on its own for my taste. But it should make a perfect partner for all things fish.