DYNAMIC ITALIANS TASTING WITH WINEMAKERS FROM FRIULI, CAMPANIA, VENETO & SLOVENIA Italy offers an amazing diversity of varieties and styles. From the more modern use of rotofermenters back to the fermentation of wine in amphora, Italian wine lovers are forever on the ‘yellow brick road’ trying to grasp the encyclopedic depth of its grapes and regions.
Out in Australia for the inaugural Rootstock wine festival in Sydney, we are lucky enough to have a collective of some of Italy's most progressive and forward thinking producers, (or are they just completing the circle and making sense of traditional practices?)
Working with rare, old varieties (Pignol, Schiopettino, Vespaiolo and Marzemino), united in their attention to detail in the vineyard and thoughtful in their winemaking choices these are some of the most interesting, and thought provoking wines we have seen.
This is a rare opportunity to meet and taste with the winemakers along with sommelier Giorgio di Maria of Sydney’s Vini and 121 BC as they pour their wines in an informal stand up tasting.
Producers on Tasting- Bressan Mastri Vinai, Friuli- Dario Princic, Friuli- Grace, Slovenia- Contra' Soarda, Veneto- Cantina Giardino, Campania
The province of Gorizia in Friuli has come to light over the last few decades thanks to noted pioneering producers such as Felluga, Radikon and Gravner. While white and more recently orange wines have been the dominant force, the kaleidoscope of thoughtful and thought provoking producers within Friuli has led to birth of smaller wineries, each with a unique set of strengths.
Bressan Mastri Vinai, FriuliOn Tasting ~ 2006 Carat, 2006 Schioppettino, 1999 PignolBressan have chosen to focus on native red grapes Pignol and Schioppettino. Physical work is preferred over chemicals in the vineyard, and winemaking relies on natural yeasts, large format oak and long maceration periods. The wines have an energetic vibrancy and beguiling wonder, expressing both their varietal character and their patch of land.
--------Dario Princic, FriuliOn Tasting ~ 2006 Bianco Trebez, 2007 Bianco Trebez, 2009 Jakot, 2010 Pinot Grigio, 2011 Bianco, 2008 FavolaAlso in the Gorizia province, the Princic family work with 30 small parcels, all estate owned. This estate is ‘white centric’ and while their techniques tend to be more traditional, their wines are approachable and evocative.
---------Grace, SloveniaOn Tasting ~ 2009 RebulaJust across the Italian border into Slovenia, Ivi and Edvard Svetlik are the founders of Grace Winery. Focusing on ribolla gialla their vines are painfully low yielding and chemical free. With just 1.5ha of vines this small production of wines offers a rarely seen glimpse into the wines from Vipava Valley.
---------Contra' Soarda, VenetoOn Tasting ~2011 Vespaiolo, 2008 Gaggion (Marzemino), 2006 TorcolatoMirco and Gloria Gottardi established Contra’ Soarda (‘hamlet on the slope’) in 2002. The vines are closely planted which naturally restricts the yields and their production centres around the local grapes Vespaiolo and Marzemino.
---------Cantina Giardino, CampaniaOn Tasting ~ 2010 Sophia Fiano Amphora, 2009 Gaia Fiano, 2010 Le Fole (aglianico)With vineyards planted mainly in the Taurasi Region, 2 hours east of Naples, Cantina Giardino are advocates of working with native vines such as Coda di Volpe Bianco, Coda di Volpe Rosso, Fiano and Aglianico and prize their older vines. As part of their endeavour to save some of the oldest vineyards in Italy, Cantina Giardino are gradually buying or renting small tracts of land to counteract a trend of large producers replacing old vines with new.