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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Wine Review: Menti Giovanni Riva Arsiglia 2012 **FAULTY BOTTLE**

Menti Giovanni Riva Arsiglia 2012

This is the final wine out of three that I'll be reviewing this week from Menti Giovanni. All of them are made entirely from the Garganega grape, which you might be familiar with as it's the main grape in the wine called Soave. The other two I've reviewed from Menti are Roncaie sui Lieviti 2013 and Paiele 2012.

Menti Giovanni is located in Gambellara (within Veneto, Italy) and as a winery has been around since the late 1800's. It was founded by Giovanni Menti. His grandson is also named Giovanni and he runs the place now with his son. The two of them do everything themselves from the vine to the wine, and nobody touches it but them. They do it all organically and biodynamically. He also decided that the rules he had to abide by to have his wine qualify for the Gambellara DOC went against what he wanted to do, so he opts to make his wine unprotected by appellation of origin.


Yet again, the Riva Arsiglia is 100% Garganega. The vines are anywhere from 29 to 79 years old, on volcanic slopes in the Gambellara Classic region, and they're harvested completely by hand into small wooden boxes to ensure the grapes don't burst open before they reach the winery. It's fermented with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks, where it stays for a whole year, and then it's bottled unfiltered.

This isn't the first time I've used this descriptor and it probably won't be the last: the wine is the color of your pee when you haven't been hydrating enough.

The nose is vegetal. I get celery, bell pepper, onion and tomato. Yes I know tomato is a fruit, smart ass! But you'd think I started chopping up some of the ingredients of my homemade tomato sauce! By the way, my tomato sauce is amazing.

The mouth is so tart and sour that it obstructs any flavor from coming through until you start to swallow and then you get a wallop of lemon candy. Then the finish is some of that lemon candy with celery and bell pepper... and SOAP. That's right. Straight-up SOAP.

I didn't like this. There's really just nothing about this wine that I find appealing. At all. Nothing. Nada. It didn't come off like a bad bottle either, just like that's the way it is.

Handing out a bad rating is really tough, guys. It's not fun. It makes you feel bad.

In this case Menti Giovanni showed well overall in a lineup of three different styles of Garganega. I absolutely adored Roncaie sui Lieviti 2013 but felt it was a bit overpriced, and I gave Paiele 2012 a 4 out of 5 rating. But I've got to give the Riva Arsiglia 2012 a 1 out of 5. It's just seriously not my thing and I personally would never buy it, even for $9.

BUT I WILL SAY THIS: Before these reviews I had never heard of this winery and I now have a hell of a lot of respect for Giovanni and Stefano Menti. These guys are hardcore and I hope they continue to make the wines that they want to make, even if little shits like me don't like some of them.

If the Menti family or the PR company that hooked me up with Menti Giovanni feel that this bottle is uncharacteristic of this wine or that it was just a bad bottle, PLEASE do not hesitate to send me another one. I will try it again and hopefully come to a better conclusion, and rescind my rating with haste.

Price: $9
Rating: 1/5 = Terrible. (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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  1. Dear Joey,

    first of all thank you for accepting to taste our wines.

    I red in the previous posts you appreciated my Roncaie and Paiele: I completely agree with your rating (I even accept your suggestion about the price of Roncaie, but you have to believe me: the duties are very high and the starting price from our cellar is much lower).

    On the other hand Riva Arsiglia's review sounds very unusual compared with the others we have collected in last years. It's generally described as a mineral and frank wine.

    I'm sure there was some kind of problem with the bottle you tasted, probably related to the shipping or cork deviation. I really apologize for this.

    Unfortunately, the vintage 2012 of this wine is sold out. I hope we'll be able to send you a new vintage sample as soon as it is available in the States.

    In case you are planning a trip to Europe, I would be very glad to invite you for tasting in our winery in Gambellara.

    Your faithfully

    Stefano Menti

    1. Hello Stefano! Thank you so much for commenting and thank you for giving me the opportunity to taste and review your wines!

      As soon as I get home tonight I will edit both the title and body of this review to make it CLEAR that this was indeed a bad bottle. I'll do the same to the YouTube video.

      Thanks again,




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