- generally known and talked of
- widely and unfavorably known
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Italy, Friuli is a wine lover's paradise, where vineyards flourish in a unique microclimate shaped by the Adriatic Sea, the Alps, and the Julian Pre-Alps. The region's winemakers are custodians of ancient traditions, committed to sustainable practices that honour the land and its terroir. Friuli's wines encapsulate the spirit of the land, where history, terroir, and craftsmanship converge to create unforgettable tasting experiences.
Boris: Пане Володимире, а чого ви вирішили попити саме ці вина?
Vova: Та якось так захотілося.
– An imaginary and comprehensive conversation explaining the fundamental philosophy behind the 'Notorious Friuli' event.
This time, Vova has chosen to spotlight Friuli through the following bottles:
Edi Keber Collio 2018
This wine secured the 🏅 8th place in our wine tasting lineup.
Edi Keber is a notable Italian winemaker known for producing high-quality wines in the Collio area of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy. His commitment to quality and tradition continues to contribute to the region's reputation for producing outstanding white wines. His winemaking philosophy emphasizes minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar, allowing the grapes to express their full potential and the unique characteristics of the Collio region.
While Edi Keber first began producing bottled wines in 1957, his family enjoyed a much longer history with winemaking, with some records stating that members of the Keber family were making wines as many as 350 years ago.
Edi Keber maintains 12 hectares of vineyards on the "ponka" soil full of stony marl. The winery is recognized for its skilful handling of the Friulano grape variety. They also grow other varietals, including Malvasia Istriana, Ribolla Gialla, and Merlot.
The 2018 Collio is a blend of Friulano (70%), Ribolla Gialla (15%) and Malvasia Istriana (15%) from 40-year-old vines. The wine is a testament to the very land Edi Keber holds dear. Structure from Friulano grown on the hill of Zeglar, freshness from Ribolla Gialla and aromatics from Malvasia. The grapes ferment in cement tanks and then aged in the same tanks for at least 5 months.
Vodopivec Vitovska 2014
This wine secured the 🏅 6th place in our wine tasting lineup.
Vodopivec, a perfect expression of Vitovska
Paolo Vodopivec exclusively focuses on cultivating Carso's native grape variety, Vitovska. Paolo used to experiment with other varieties. Over time, he concluded that Vitovska is the voice of the Carso.
Today, Vodopivec produces up to three distinct bottlings annually. The "Origine" bottling undergoes vinification and ageing solely in large, neutral oak botti. Meanwhile, the classic Vitovska ages for a period ranging from six to twelve months in Georgian qvevri, allowing the skins to impart their character before further maturation in botti. "Solo," considered Vodopivec's Grand Cru, is crafted from their most prized vineyard parcel. It undergoes an entire year of fermentation and ageing in qvevri, culminating in a final passage through the botti for refinement.
Grapes for the 2014 Vitovska come from 20-year-old vines. The juice is fermented with the skins for up to twelve months with further ageing in 30-hectoliter Slavonian botti for 18 months.
Dario Prinčič Bianco Trebež 2015
This wine secured the 🏅 5th place in our wine tasting lineup.
At last, the road has brought us to the legendary village of Oslavia, just north of the town of Gorizia and a few steps from the border with Slovenia.
Dario Prinčič formed the winery in 1993. Before that, the family was selling grapes to other wineries in the region. In six years, Dario started to experiment with maceration for white wines. This gave wines such complexity and texture, which Dario loved so much that he decided to macerate the whole production the following year.
Today, the family owns 10 hectares of densely planted vines on the soil composed of clay and sandstone.
The 2015 Bianco Trebež is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are sourced from 35-year-old vines. Each variety is fermented and macerated separately in open vats. Pinot Grigio spends 8 days in contact with skins, while the other grapes macerate for 18 days before being assembled and aged in large oak barrels for up to 3 years.
Paraschos not 2017
This wine secured the 🏅 4th place in our wine tasting lineup.
Today, the winery is run by brothers Alexis and Jannis Paraschos and their father Evangelos. With Greek origin and the Italian/Slovene border situation, the brothers speak Greek with their father, Italian between themselves, Slovene with their workers, and English with most of their clients.
The 7 hectares owned by Paraschos are divided among 10 terraced vineyards in Slatnik, between San Floriano and Oslavia, on a typical and unique soil called "Ponca", based on marlstone rich in minerals of Eocene origin. The family cultivates Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, Malvasia Istriana, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
The macerated Pinot Grigio can be tricky in blind tastings due to its grayish-pink/rose skin. In some cases (like the 2021 Sivi by Radikon or the 2012 "not" by Paraschos), it can even become red in colour.
The 2017 "not" is a 100% Pinot Grigio, sourced from 30-year-old vines of the Slatnik vineyard. The grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed. Half of them are macerated for 8-10 days on the skins. The other half is direct-pressed. Both halves are assembled together to finish the spontaneous fermentation. And then the wine ages in Slavonian oak barrels for 2 years.
Radikon Sivi 2021
This wine secured the 🥉 3rd place in our wine tasting lineup.
Stanko Radikon is a legendary farmer and winemaker from a legendary region. He and his friends (Gravner) started period of renaissance for amber wines - white wines with extended skin maceration. But of course, in town of Oslavia it was called "Slovenian" or "Friuli" style - hand-harvesting, skin contact, large and older barrel fermentation without any temperature control, no added yeasts or enzymes, and little to no use of sulfur.
The vineyards were originally planted in the beginning of XX century by Stanko’s grandfather Franz Mikulus with the local favorite, the Ribolla Gialla grape. And basically, Stanko went back to the ways his grandfather was producing wines back in 30s.
After Stanko passing away in 2016, his son Saša took the winery in his hands. Though people say that nothing has really changed in the philosophy of Radikon winery as Saša has been helping out since he was a kid and a partner since 2006.
Sivi is part of the S range or Saša wines. The range was launched in early 2010's by Saša to branch out a bit on his own and to produce entry level wines. They see a noticeably shorter maceration, 8 to 14 days versus 3 months. They are also ferment and age in smaller vessels and age for only 18 months before bottling. And yes, they are bottled in traditional 750ml bottles (on the contrary to the blue label bottled in 0.5/1.0L bottles created by Stanko Radikon and Edi Kante).
Sivi means "grey" in Slovenian and is a synonym for Pinot Grigio, a reference to the grape colour. The 2021 Sivi is destemmed and fermented with natural yeasts in oak vat, with no temperature control and no sulfur. Maceration lasts for 10-14 days. After a gentle pressing, the wine is put in 3500-litre Slavonian oak barrels for a year and a half on its lees.
Terpin Ribolla Gialla 2012
This wine secured the 🏅 7th place in our wine tasting lineup.
Franco Terpin, the fifth of six brothers, hails from a family with a viticultural tradition dating back to the 1970s. It wasn't until the early 1990s that Franco's father took the plunge into winemaking independently, marking a pivotal moment in the family's winemaking journey. This transition sparked a shift towards organic and quality-driven practices, moving away from the market-driven quantity-focused approach.
Based in Valerisce, San Floriano del Collio, Franco Terpin's vineyard spans around 10 hectares on the picturesque slopes of Mount Calvario. Here, they cultivate emblematic local grape varieties like Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Grigio, and Friulano, alongside international varietals such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The unique soil, known as "Ponka," is a distinctive feature, characterized by the stratification of marls, sandstones, and clays from the Eocene epoch.
The grapes for the 2012 Ribolla Gialla are fermented and macerated first in steel tanks and then in Slavonian oak for 20 days. The wine ages in a similar fashion, just in a reversed order. First, it spends 12 months in barriques and then in steel tanks.
Gravner Ribolla 2014
This wine secured the 🥇 1st place in our wine tasting lineup.
Many consider Joško Gravner to be the father of macerated white wine trend. Yet it's interesting that before his first amber wine, he was a rising star in the modern and technological winemaking scene. He confessed that he would purchase any new equipment he could find. But his life turned upside down after a trip to California back in 1987. California was (and maybe still is) a destination for many winemakers as this region represents triumph and possibilities of new. No wonder, as Californian wines won Judgement of Paris in 1976. This event dramatically changed the wine world. Joško Gravner was taking the same path as Californian winemakers - oak, science, additives and all that cool stuff. But after tasting 1000 wines in 10 days, he was astonished by faceless and tasteless results. And he realised this was the road to a dead end. Now he knew how not to produce wines.
His search lasted for almost a decade. Joško Gravner studied the history of winemaking and searched for a way to produce authentic wines that talk in the language of land and history. He discovered that his ancestors made skin-contact wines here in Collio/Brda. And then, he learned that Georgia has a very long history of winemaking spanning over 8000 years. And more importantly, this history includes skin-contact wines.
Equipped with knowledge and determination to change, Joško Gravner worked hard on his first release of extensively macerated Ribolla. It took three years for the 1997 vintage to become ready for release. But unfortunately, consumers were not happy about this drastic change in style. And most importantly, Gambero Rosso, an influential wine & food magazine, gave a devastating assessment of this new style. As a result, 80% of the 1997 Ribolla was returned to the winery. Joško Gravner was crushed. But he also realised that this was the way to go.
In the same 2000, Joško Gravner visited Georgia and ordered 11 qvevri. Unfortunately, no one knew how to transport these 1000L ceramic vessels, so 9 of them didn't survive the trip. Because of this, Joško had to wait one more year before he could start to use qvevri for production. Nowadays, he owns more than 45 of them in total!
Interestingly, Ribolla and Breg (two wines produced by Joško Gravner) had the word 'Anfora' printed on the labels of the 2001 vintage. However, they were not 100% fermented in qvevri till 2003. Even more, no qvevri was used for Breg Rosso production till 2005. And in 2007, they decided to remove the word 'Anfora' from all labels, as this information became redundant. All their wines were fermented in qvevri now.
And today, wines produced by Joško Gravner are treated as the highest manifestation of skill. Many people consider Ribolla to be the best orange wine in the world.
Dario Prinčič Merlot 2007
This wine secured the 🥈 2nd place in our wine tasting lineup.
We are back to Dario Prinčič. The only (truly) red wine of the evening is made of 100% Merlot. Wild fermentation in open wooden vats and a 7-year-long maturation in French old barriques before bottling. Epic.