2018 Menti 'Riva Arsiglia' Garganega
Region: Valpolicella < Veneto < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic + certified biodynamic farming; 60+ year old vines on white 'Gambellara' volcanic mineral soils; fermented in concrete, then aged concrete for 12 months before bottling, unfined/unfiltered, with no added So2; zero-zero; 11.5% ABV
Winemaker: Stefano Menti
It’s a story we hear often: the son and great-grandson of winemakers, Stefano Menti returns home to the family vineyard to make natural wines, on his own terms. Growing up, he was riding tractors through the vineyard and helping dad with harvest, then left to study and work abroad for years. When dad summoned him back to help the failing business, Stefano agreed, but on one condition: no more of the conventional farming BS used by his father since the 70’s. He went home, got rid of all the chemicals and returned to the hands-off methods used by his great grandfather. “The wine starts from the fruit,” he explains, “It is essential that the fruit is as pure as possible”.
Italy's Veneto region contains pockets of ancient volcanic soils, like Stefano's plots in Gambellara, near Vicenza. His volcanic terroir is different than other parts of Italy, with compact horizontal bands of dark basalt just below the surface, giving the wines a distinct tension and stoniness. Which is strikingly apparent in this intensely mineral-driven white that strikes with a lightening bolt of citrus and lemongrass on acid. Bone-dry, bright fruit, electric acidity -- this wine is alive and incredibly delicious. It ain't cheap, but seriously, worth every penny. STAFF FAVE.