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Northeast Italy - Top Producers of Friuli-Venezia Giulia

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
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Le Due Terre

Livon

Top Producers of Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Borgo San Daniele - F-V G/Friuli Isonzo & IGT

location: via San Daniele 16, Cormons
telephone number: 0481 60552
website: www.borgosandaniele.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (w), 2000, 1999
recommended wines: Friuli Isonzo Tocai Friulano, Friuli Isonzo Bianco Arbis Blanc, Arbis Rosso Venezia Giulia IGT

Mauro Mauri belongs to the young, trend-setting generation of Friuli growers who have abandoned crisp, dry whites in favor of wines that are richer and mellower. Mauro takes the rustic edge out of Tocai Friulano, and his Pinot Bianco-Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay-Tocai Friulano blend, called Arbis Blanc, is a luscious, not-quite-dry white with an Alsace-style character.


Borgo del Tiglio - F-V G/Collio

location: via San Giorgio 71, fraz Brazzano, Cormons
telephone number: 0481 62166
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000 (w), 1999, 1998 (w), 1996
recommended wines: Collio Bianco Ronco della Chiesa, Collio Bianco Studio di Bianco, Collio Malvasia Selezione

Nicola Manferrari painstakingly selects wines from different microzones around his estate to create a range of highly personal and long-lived whites. Newcomers to his wines are bowled over by the power and originality of the classic Ronco della Chiesa (made from Tocai Friulano), the rich and spicy oak-aged Malvasia, and the unique Studio di Bianco, which dares to blend Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon, and Riesling.


Josko Gravner: back to the future

website: www.gravner.it

Grower-producer Josko Gravner owns and runs a small estate in the village of Oslavia in the Collio. His Burgundy-style Chardonnays of the 1980s earned him a reputation as Italy’s finest white wine producer, but in 1997 he began to experiment with alternative winemaking. His search for the ultimate natural wine led him to 5,000-year-old methods: making wine in round, 6-foot- (2-m-) high earthenware vessels called kvevri. After crushing the grapes, he puts the juice and the skins into these jars, which are buried for seven months to ferment and mature. The wine then goes into large oak barrels to age for three-and-a-half years before bottling without filtering. The wines are dry, concentrated, full-bodied, and unique. Gravner’s production of around 40,000 bottles a year consists of a Merlot-based red called Rujno, a white varietal from Ribolla Gialla, and a Pinot Grigio-Chardonnay-Sauvignon blend called Breg. Only small quantities are exported.


Edi Keber - F-V G/Collio

location: loc Zegla 17, Cormons
telephone number: 0481 61184
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: white: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Collio Tocai Friulano, Collio Bianco

Keber is the epitome of Collio grower-producers: jovial, hospitable, and very capable. He is the biggest producer of the Collio Bianco DOC, in force since the end of the 1990s, and he makes best use of this denomination, which gives producers a free rein with the grape varieties they use. He blends six different varieties in his multi-faceted Collio Bianco. His other wine is an unoaked Tocai Friulano, which has all the authentic fleshy texture and flower-and-herb aromas of Friuli’s flagship varietal.


Girolamo Dorigo - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via del Pozzo 5, Buttrio
telephone number: 0432 674268
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, sparkling, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000, 1999 (r), 1998 (w)
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Rosso Montsclapade, Chardonnay Vigneto Ronc di Juri; Dorigo Brut VdT

Dorigo’s range has a distinctly francophile note with its Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Montsclapade, Burgundy-style Ronc di Juri Chardonnay, and traditional-method bubbly. However, Girolamo Dorigo also makes the rare local dessert wine Picolit, as well as Friuli’s tannic and long-lived red Pignolo, both of which are capable of greatness in the best vintages.


Kante - F-V G/Carso

location: loc Prepotto 3, Duino-Aurisina
telephone number: 040 200255
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: white: 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Carso: Malvasia, Vitovska, Sauvignon Blanc

Edi Kante is the great producer of F-V G’s smallest DOC zone, Carso. His output is tiny, but the dry, flinty intensity and aroma of his wines is unforgettable. If the Vitovska seems too subtle, or the Terlano made from Refosco too sharp, try the vibrant Sauvignon Blanc or the spicy Malvasia instead.


La Castellada - F-V G/Collio

location: fraz Oslavia 1, Gorizia
telephone number: 0481 33670
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995
recommended wines: Collio Bianco della Castellada, Collio Ribolla Gialla

The village of Oslavia is home to some of F-V G’s most serious whites, and is one of the few places in the region where the rare Ribolla Gialla grape ripens to its full potential, giving wines with hedgerow aromas and intense, citrus flavors. La Castellada’s Bensa brothers make a Ribolla varietal and put the other six or seven varieties they grow into the chunky Bianco della Castellada estate blend.


Le Due Terre - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via Roma 68/B, Prepotto
telephone number: 0432 713189
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997 (r); 2001 (w)
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Sacrisassi Bianco, Sacrisassi Rosso

Le Due Terre produces a tiny amount of handcrafted wines with enormous personality. It is one of the few estates in F-V G—an area that built its reputation on whites—to create a red as the top of its range. Sacrisassi Rosso is a blend of local varieties that combines the spicy character of Schioppettino with the berry fruit of Refosco. The Sacrisassi Bianco—a white with the body of a serious red—is made from Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Sauvignon Blanc.


Le Vigne di Zamò - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via Abate Corrado 4, loc Rosazzo, Manzano
telephone number: 0432 759693
website: www.levignedizamo.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000 (w), 1999
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Tocai Friulano Vigne Cinquant’Anni, Pinot Bianco Tullio Zamò, Merlot Vigne Cinquant’Anni

Previously situated on the historic Abbazia di Rosazzo estate, Zamò has called the state-of-the-art winery across the road from the abbey home since the mid-1990s. With vineyards here now starting to mature, Zamò’s basic Tocai Friulano and Malvasia varietals are looking very impressive. The superb, full-bodied Cinquant’anni selections come from tiny plots of 50-year-old Tocai Friulano and Merlot vines at the original family holdings.


Lis Neris - F-V G/Friuli Isonzo & IGT

location: via Gavinana 5, San Lorenzo Isontino
telephone number: 0481 80105
website: www.lisneris.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000, 1999, 1998 (w), 1996 (w)
recommended wines: Friuli Isonzo Gris Pinot Grigio, Lis Venezia Giulia Bianco IGT, Tal Lùc Verduzzo Passito VdT

The Lis Neris estate has grown steadily in recent years, but owner-winemaker Alvaro Pecorari has gradually whittled down the range to focus on the varieties closest to his heart: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. The latter also features heavily in the two new, top-quality IGT blends: Lis and Confini. Then there is Tal Lùc, which is one of Italy’s greatest dessert wines, and the house red is pretty good, too.


Livio Felluga - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via Risorgimento 1, fraz Brazzano, Cormons
telephone number: 0481 60203
website: www.liviofelluga.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000, 1999, 1997, 1995 (w)
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Rosazzo Rosso Sossò, Rosazzo Bianco Terre Alte, Bianco Illivio

This family-run winery, which owns extensive vineyards in some of the best sites in the Colli Orientali, moved into the fast lane at the end of the 1990s with the arrival of esteemed Tuscan winemaker Stefano Chioccioli. Look out for his restyled versions of the Felluga classics Terre Alte (Tocai Friulano-Sauvignon Blanc-Pinot Bianco) and Sossò (Merlot-Refosco). There are also ambitious new wines such as the oak-fermented Pinot Bianco Illivio.


Livon - F-V G/Collio

location: via Montarezza 33, fraz Dolegnano, San Giovanni al Natisone
telephone number: 0432 757173
website: www.livon.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000 (r), 1999, 1998 (w), 1997
recommended wines: Collio Braide Mate Chardonnay, Braide Alte VdT, Collio Merlot Tiare Mate

Going against the current trend in Italy for Mediterranean-type whites, the Livon family remains faithful to its elegant, lightly oaked house style, as displayed in its prize-winning Braide Mate Chardonnay and its dry, delicately aromatic Braide Alte (Moscato-Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay-Picolit). The same family owns the specialist Collio estate Tenuta Roncalto, and makes the great-value Villa Chiopris range of red and white wines for everyday drinking.


Miani - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via Peruzzi 10, fraz Vicinale, Buttrio
telephone number: 0432 674327
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000, 1999, 1998 (w)
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Merlot

Enzo Pontoni runs the ultimate one-man winery. The paucity of his yields is legendary: He makes 8,000 bottles from 18 ha of vineyard. There is weight and concentration to his gutsy barrel-aged Tocai Friulano, oaky Ribolla Gialla, and cassis-scented old-vine Merlot. These are cult offerings that are hard to find but worth it.


Ronco del Gelso - F-V G/Friuli Isonzo

location: via Isonzo 117, Cormons
telephone number: 0481 61310
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000 (w), 1999, 1998 (w)
recommended wines: Friuli Isonzo: Pinot Grigio Sot Lis Rivis, Sauvignon, Tocai Friulano

Giorgio Badin’s wines require patience. When they are young, they offer lots of glossy texture with just an inkling of fruit; it is only after a couple of years in the cellar that their true fruit and aromas emerge. Alternatively, try unleashing the character of his young wines by decanting them. With a little air, the Tocai Friulano will deliver ripe peach with wild herbs, fennel, and almond.


Russiz Superiore - F-V G/Collio

location: via Russiz 7, Capriva del Friuli
telephone number: 0481 00164
website: www.marcofelluga.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (w), 2000 (w), 1998
recommended wines: Collio Bianco Disôre, Collio Sauvignon, Collio Rosso Riserva degli Orzoni

Although the Felluga brothers went separate ways over 30 years ago, each has continued to have an influence at the quality end of Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s wine industry. Livio Felluga, now run by Livio’s children, sources most grapes from the Colli Orientali. Marco Felluga, on the other hand, is based in Collio, where the family owns the historic Russiz Superiore property. All the grapes from this no-expense-spared winery go into the top-of-the-line single-estate selections, like the juicy varietal Collio Sauvignon Blanc. The same winemaking team turns out the Marco Felluga range from mainly bought-in grapes, which is only slightly below the single-estate wines in terms of quality.


Schiopetto - F-V G/Collio & IGT

location: via Palazzo Archivescovile 1, Capriva del FriulI
telephone number: 0481 80332
website: www.schiopetto.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: white: 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Mario Schiopetto Bianco Venezia Giulia IGT, Collio Tocai Friulano, Collio Pinot Bianco

The traditional Rhine bottle with the elongated neck is no longer used here, but the wines are looking better than ever. The newly slimmed-down Schiopetto range focuses on the classic Collio varietals—almondy Tocai Friulano, succulent Sauvignon Blanc, and orange-blossom Pinot Bianco—as well as on the restyled, lightly oaked Blanc des Rosis, which is made from Tocai Friulano, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia Istriana, and Ribolla Gialla. Pride of place, however, goes to the new release Mario Schiopetto Bianco, made from a unique blend of Chardonnay and Tocai Friulano. This wine was created in honor of the late Mario Schiopetto, the man rightly considered the founder of modern winemaking in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, who died in May 2003.


Vie di Romans - F-V G/Friuli Isonzo

location: loc Vie di Romans 1, Mariano del Friuli
telephone number: 0481 69600
website: www.viediromans.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000 (w), 1999 (w), 1998 (w)
recommended wines: Friuli Isonzo: Sauvignon Vieris, Chardonnay Vie di Romans, Sauvignon Pière

If the greatest wines are those that give the most pleasure, then Gianfranco Gallo’s whites are difficult to rival. The only problem is overcoming the temptation to drink them before time has had a chance to reveal the amazing layers of flavor that lie hidden beneath the surface: they are best after two or three years of bottle-aging. Gianfranco produces both an oaked and an unoaked Sauvignon Blanc; each as delicious as the other.


Villa Russiz - F-V G/Collio

location: via Russiz 6, Capriva del Friuli
telephone number: 0481 80047
website: www.villarussiz.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (w), 2000, 1999, 1998 (w)
recommended wines: Collio: Sauvignon de la Tour, Merlot de la Tour, Chardonnay Gräfin de la Tour

Winemaker Gianni Menotti’s wine style is full-bodied and crammed with varietal character. He held back from using oak for many years and still only makes one barrel-fermented white, but the de la Tour Chardonnay shows that he has thoroughly mastered the technique. The top selections at this benchmark Collio estate are named after the 19th-century owner Comte de la Tour, who was the first to introduce French grape varieties to this region.


Vinnaioli Jermann - F-V G/IGT

location: via Monte Fortino 21, fraz Villanova, Farra d’Isonzo
telephone number: 0481 888080
website: www.jermannvinnaioli.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (w), 2000, 1999 (r), 1997, 1996
recommended wines: Vintage Tunina VdT, Capo Martino in Ruttaris VdT, Pignacoluse Venezia Giulia IGT

Silvio Jermann’s curriculum vitae—which stretches back to the mid-1970s—bulges with great white wines, ranging from the genial Vintage Tunina blend and the oak-conditioned Capo Martino blend to a stylish Chardonnay with the enigmatic name Were Dreams. With his new Pignolo-based Pignacoluse, he has now achieved the long-held ambition of creating a red of the same great stature.


Volpe Pasini - F-V G/Colli Orientali del Friuli

location: via Cividale 16, fraz Togliano, Torreano di Cividale
telephone number: 0432 715151
website: www.volpepasini.net
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001, 2000, 1999
recommended wines: Colli Orientali del Friuli: Merlot Focus Zuc di Volpe, Pinot Bianco Zuc di Volpe, Pinot Grigio Zuc di Volpe

Emilio Rotolo took over this dwindling winery in the mid-1990s, and in the space of just three vintages turned it into one of the region’s real high-flyers. The new and distinctly international-style Zuc di Volpe range is the work of Merlot specialist Riccardo Cotarella, one of Italy’s most sought-after consultant winemakers. The reds are crammed with velvet tannins and berry flavors, while the whites have fruit salad aromas and, in the case of Pinot Bianco, a very classy touch of oak.

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