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…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note: 2002 Le Due Terre Schioppettino Magnum

I have to admit that I feel right at home in Krakow, even though some would say that it has a lot to learn from it’s more wine-oriented bigger brother, Warsaw.

In fact, one reason that I feel right at home here in Krakow is because it reminds me so much of Bergen, Norway where I now work (and lived for 8 years). No, the architecture is not the same (at all), the people are certainly not similar and the weather back in Bergen is not even remotely close to the glorious weather (by comparison) we have here in Krakow.

What is so similar to me is that Bergen has always crouched in the shadow of the country’s capital, Oslo. Oslo is where anything wine happens. Fairs, events, dinners, winemaker visits and it’s home to the majority of Norwegian wine importers. There is always an inherent wine struggle in Bergen, and I feel that the Krakow-Warsaw scenario is much the same.

But things are looking up in Krakow as I find it much easier as time goes by to find wine that I can actually consume, so thank you!

Le Due Terre is a producer I know little about except that the producer is from Friuli in the North Eastern tip of Italy and that they produce low-intervention wines – the sort of wines I love to drink. I had tasted their wines on less than 5 occassions, so when we were presented with a magnum of Schioppettino («the little fire cracker» in Italian), we paid no notice to the 2002 vintage stamped on the front label. Schioppettino is a grape I have come to love due to it’s extreme freshness and peppary mouthfeel, so I was looking forward to this double-sized dose! Here’s my brief tasting note:

Date Tasted: March 3rd, 2012 20:30

Appearance: Still youthful with barely a hint of obseravable age

Nose: Again youthful. Barolo-esque with hints of forest leaves and sour cherries.

Palate: Elegant, focused, light and long. Inky. Bitter almonds. The very delicate green hints (perhaps a vintage trait) help to actually lift the wine giving it added freshness. With some time in the glass, my thoughts of Barolo drift away as the wine starts to resemle a wine from Cornas, with it’s elegant focus, light pepper hints and loads of acidity.

This is overall a very elegant and delightful wine with tons of drinkability, in fact I believe that the magnum disapperared within an hour.

*This post was written especially for Winicjatywa and translated to Polish language here

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, organic wine

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Rosantico

The Moscato Rosa vine has an ancient  history dating back to the  Austro-Hungarian Empire here in Friuli, hence the clever name on the label. Fulvio Bressan’s family have always had this small (1 HA) vineyard, and Fulvio’s father used to make a sweet wine from the vine, the traditional vinification method for this grape.  A rather rich history for this rather difficult little vineyard.

The vineyard had an extremely low yield of about 1500 liters in 2009 for the 1 HA, that’s about 2000 bottles. And that was in a good year.  Bressan picks the grapes late to insure ripeness, which is tricky since this grape has a high level of “colatura” or risk of falling off the vine when ripe. But still he waits to pick the grapes late so that they are dry like sultana’s, adding to the risk that botrytis cinerea (noble rot) will set in, which is not desired here.  Add these risks together and you  have the elements of total vintage loss, which is what happened  in the previous 7 vintages! Also no wine was made in 2010 and the 2011 is still in tank fermenting

After the manual harvest, the grapes were pressed and de-stalked. Maceration was for 3 days, fermentation was spontaneous thanks to the ambient yeasts present on the bunches. Alcoholic fermentation lasted for about 4 weeks, followed by an induced (by a small increase in temperature) malolactic fermentation.  The wine was then racked and left on the fine lees in stainless steel for two years, giving the grape the chance to show its elegance and personality. The wine was then bottled without filtration. The wine then continued for a bit longer for some bottle maturation.  Total alcohol is 13.20% and total acidity is a fresh 6,38 g/l.

Click here for some nerdy information for those who care.

Date tasted: March 3rd, 2012 18:30

Appearance:  Normally I would say “see the photos”, but since the photos i took were in a dimly-lit place, I will try and describe the color. It has more of a light-reddish-copperish color, than of a pure rosé like we might see from southern France. Like a pure extraction of fruit juice. Intriguing for sure. See photo 😉

Nose:  Wild fruits (berries) and rose pedals, very intense. Hints of floral soap, yes soap.

Palate:  Dry. Important to emphasize dry, as in none or very little residual sugar. Texture of a liquor, with the alcohol a bit noticeable but not enough to throw the wine out of balance. I think this aspect of the wine will integrate nicely in the coming years adding to its complexity. Super length and acidity giving this syrupy wine lots of freshness. Really very liquor-like in the texture. Like a syrup made of fresh berries.  The after taste had mild yeasty hints, which I liked.

Although enjoyable now, will be enjoyable for years to come for sure. Goodbye today’s rosé and hello rosé for tomorrow!

 

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine)

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A tasting note: 2005 Franco Terpin Ribolla Gialla

Azienda Agricola Franco Terpin
Loc. Valerisce n°6/a
34170 – San Floriano del collio – Go
Tel +39 0481 884215
If you haven’t yet tasted the wines from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area of Italy, then perhaps you should.  Sitting in the furthermost North East Corner of Italy bordering Slovenia, this wine region has been getting a lot of attention lately. Is this because the majority of Italian skin-macerated whites (aka orange wines) hail from this region? Is it because the  region produces age-worthy, mineral wines that make you sit back and say “huh…what grape was this again?”?  Is it because this is the home of many natural wines, which also gets a lot of attention these days?  I would place a check-mark next to “all of the above” because these wines are serious.  And many are seriously good!

Most  of the producers (and grapes) in this area of Italy have names that the rest of Italy cannot pronounce. Take Vodopivec for example and the only grape they vinify, the Vitovoska. Even the wines made in this corner of Italy stray from the every-day wines that the average Italian recognizes and consumes. Yet, these are very much wines. These are living wines, often made only with grapes. Nothing added, nothing taken.

The wine for this tasting note was produced by Franco Terpin. A little easier to pronounce, yet far from typical.  Franco farms in a natural fashion without the  use of industrial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.  “The vine listens. The vine understands”, says Franco.  Franco says that the Ribolla Gialla (called Rebula in this area) is difficult to grow and he only vinifies it in exceptional vintages. Harvest is done by hand, fermentation  (initially in steel) is spontaneous thanks to the extended skin contact.  The wine is then transferred to oak where it spends about one year on the lees. It  is then transferred to stainless steel where it spends another year. Then it’s bottled without fining or filtering and is left to rest for yet another year before going for sale.  Approximately 2500 bottles produced.  This wine is not available in Norway or Poland.

Date tasted: Tuesday May 17th – Norwegian Independence day – 1845

Appearance: a slightly cloudy, orange-hued wine with a high intensity reflection. I just love the look of orange wines!

Nose: Oak  jumps out of the glass at first, with hints of reduction. Not a lot of fruit showing at this time. Mineral.  Some orange peel emerging, but the wine is still closed and not showing well yet. Some very slight, slight balsamic hints.

Palate: mineral, dry and surprisingly, the oak is less evident on the palate. The wine is quite intense on the palate and ends (many seconds after first entering the mouth) with a slight bitterness.  Medium-high acidity. Alcohol seems high, yet is well-integrated. The wood dries out the mouth very slightly, but not offensively . Very focused finish. Reminds of the peach iced-tea I just drank.  Super food wine i would imagine.

Wine is decanted………


Same night at  20:25:

Appearance hasn’t changed

Nose: More fruit has emerged. No sign of oak anymore. More herbs.

Palate: Still quite mineral. Oily. Orange peel. Pork fat, bacon. Alcohol is the only disturbance here, but the wine has been sitting in a decanter for almost two hours at room temp. Sits a long time on the palate. again, serious food wine. Fatty, oily. Texture is nice.

as we finished the last sips about an hour later, the wine had developed the sort of texture that helped the wine  just slip easily down the throat


 


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part V – 1999 Cru Pignol

And along came the Pignolo grape, another very rare, refined, prestigious and indigenous grape of the Fruili-Venezia Giulia region in North-Eastern Italy.  This grape has the potential to make “Cru” level wines, like Bressan’s Cru Pignol, a stunning example of what this grape can do when care is taken in the vineyards and the winery.   According to Fulvio, the Pignol needs at least 8 years of aging to become a great wine, and after tasting his latest Pignol release, I would have to agree. At 10 years of age, this wine is just a baby. Drinking well now, but begging to be left alone for another ten.

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Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part IV – 2004 Schioppettino

The Schioppettino is a  red grape grown predominately in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy.  Also known as the Ribolla Nera, pills Schioppettino literally means “gunshot” or “little crack”.  Records show that red wine made from the Schioppettino was used at marriage ceremonies back to 1282.  The grape was nearly lost to extinction thanks mostly to the phylloxera epidemic. Today, Bressan is one of the few wine makers making wine from the Schioppettino grape.

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area: 3.88 HA
  • Planting year:  1982
  • # of vines/HA:  3086
  • Sun exposition: Southern, with rows oriented EAST-WEST
  • Harvest:  Permitted to slightly over-mature (so as to attain very high fixed acidity congenital to the species), harvested by hand.

Wine Making: Grapes are de-stalked and brought to must by way of soft-pressing; extremely long maceration with principal fermentation along with the grape skins, refrigerated with well water at a controlled temperature not exceeding 25C (77F).  After racking, the wine undergoes an ulterior 35 days of fermentation. The wine is then stored in stainless steel tanks, followed by aging for at least 2 more  years in 2000 liter oak casks. After bottling, groups of 500 bottles are placed in large chests, which are then stored in a temperature controlled warehouse for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.58 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: Medium dark brick red. Very very slight development showing. Medium intensity.

Nose: Very intense freshly ground black pepper. Blackberries and dark plums with mineral undertones. Floral and very intriguing. Hints of roasted meat.  Forest floor, musk and wild fruit. Very complex and intriguing nose.

Palate: Very intense on the palate as well with aromas of black pepper, wild dark berries, musk and hints of red berries with a mineral background. Some pleasant dried fruit aromas as well.  Medium tannins, medium to medium plus acidity carrying the wine to a long, very fresh finish.  Very fresh and very drinkable.  This has always been one of my favorite wines of Bressan..  Excellent with lamb!

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about)

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part III – 2004 Pinot Grigio

Soil composition: Calcareous mineral base, cost with high presence of iron sesquioxides. Such geological characteristics, clinic associated with this scarce endowment of organic and other nutritional elements, search forces the vines to a slow vegetative growth, resulting in an extremely low production, with an overall benefit to the MACRO and MICRO components of the grapes, and therefore the wines.

  • Total surface area:  1.41 HA
  • Planting year:  1990
  • # of vines/HA:  4630
  • Sun exposition:  Southern, with rows oriented NORTHWEST-SOUTH
  • Harvest:  Physiologically correct, by hand

Wine making: Grapes are de-stalked and soft-pressed, with cold decanting of the must and the total elimination of the entire part decanted.  20-25 days cold fermentation. Subsequent slow fermentation of the fine lees in stainless steel tanks; then aging for 12-15 months before bottling.  Bottles are placed in groups of 500 in large chests that are then stored in temperature controlled warehouses for additional aging.

  • Alcohol content:  13%
  • Total acidity:  5.20 g/l

Date tasted:  Saturday December 26th, 2009 12:02 (PM)

Appearance: “Ramato” – Copper-like color, but perhaps a bit lighter than the Verduzzo Fruilano with a tad more brownish tinge.  Medium plus intense glow.

Nose: Less intense than the Verduzzo Fruilano and more “feminine”. Fresh apricots and orange peel. Hints of star anise and mineral. Medium complex

Palate: Medium intense wine with orange citrus, hints of apricot, star anise and mineral.  Well-integrated alcohol, very fresh and drinkable. Very mild tannins, medium plus acidity with a long, mineral, fresh finish. One of the best Pinot Grigio’s I have ever tasted, if not the best.

Drinking very well now, but can be stored up to 5 years in my opinion. Another winner from Bressan…

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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Bressan Mastri Vinai Part II- 2006 Verduzzo Friulano

In Part I of the Bressan producer profile, I discussed in depth the philosophy of Fulvio Bressan.  Now I will present some of his wines which I had the opportunity to taste.  Bressan is an artisan wine producer making wine in extremely small quantities, between 0-50,000 bottles per year.  They specialize in the production of indigenous grape varieties, including the wine being tasted for this tasting note.

The Verduzzo (Friulano) grape is indigenous to Friuli, but can also be found in the Veneto.  According to Fulvio, it is very rare to find dry versions of the wine made from this grape (only 2 or 3 other producers in Friuli  make it dry).  The Verduzzo grapes is unusual in that it has high tannins like you might find in a red wine. Therefore, if the grape is harvested too early, the tannins can be quite bitter and harsh, and therefore wine makers began adding sugar to the wine to make it sweet, thus masking the bitterness of the tannins. In Fulvio’s opinion (and in mine as well), a sweet wine will not be balanced when made in this way.  Fulvio instead picks his grapes at the optimal ripeness (because he is patient), and vinifies the wine as a dry wine.

The first thing you notice when pulling the cork out of the bottle is the quality of the cork itself. Fulvio swears by the quality of his corks and says that if you ever get a corked bottle, simply return the cork and he will refund you.

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Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Bressan Mastri Vinai- Friuili-Venezia Giulia, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (just about), orange wine

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A tasting note: 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Amphora

2009-06-02_620091680Date tasted:  June 2nd, 2009 15:00 (3pm)

In the hills and mountains of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in North Eastern Italy, there are a group of winemakers that wish to make wine like they did centuries ago.  They farm organically and believe very firmly in the principles of natural wine making.  Ancient methods of cultivation are employed and the white wines are treated to extended maceration periods on the skins, producing “orange” wines.   Indigenous yeasts are used without the use of temperature control.  Fermentation takes place naturally and spontaneously.  In some cases, this takes place outdoors in large terracotta Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers’  Valter and Paolo’s winery is about 20 minutes north of Trieste, near the Slovenian border.  The brothers own a nursery and are plant and flower experts.  They have been making wine since 1995.  Up until the 2005 vintage, they have always used big Botti, now they are also using Amphorae.

The Vodopivec brothers usually bottle two different wines from the Vitovska grape.  The Vitovska grape is a vine with a greenish-gold berry that has always been cultivated in area of Trieste.  The name of the vine is undoubtedly of Slovenian origin, and was often called Vitovska Garganija.   The top bottling is the Solo, comprised of the top selection of grapes from older vines.  The second bottling is their second selection.

2005 was a challenging vintage with an overabundance of rain, therefore only one (hand) harvest was made. The Solo cuvée was not produced.  After harvesting, approximately 70% of the grapes were then fermented in Botti, the remaining 30% in Amphorae.  The wine was macerated with the skins for around 70 days.  Only indigenous yeast, no filtration, no treatments.  The botti were sprayed with about 10mg/liter of sulfur about 2 weeks before the harvest to “sterilize”.  The Amphorae were not sprayed.

There were two bottlings for the declassified 2005 vintage.  The wine fermented and aged in Amphorae has an orange stripe on the label.  The wine fermented and aged in Botti has a green stripe on the label.  This bottle was the Amphorae version.  Price in Norwegian Kroner is 320 ($50)

2009-06-02_620091682

Appearance: Apricot, amber color. Clean. Medium plus intensity.

Nose: Spice, Cinnamon. Kumquat, Umami and orange peel.  Very intense and complex nose.  Keeps you going back to the glass to smell and smell again.  Also leaves the impression that this wine could be very fruity or even sweet.

Palate: Medium tannins and extremely focused fruit.  Orange peel and touches of spice.  Medium plus, mature acidity with a smooth, long and elegant finish.  Bone dry.  Really complex with some minerality on the finish.  Best enjoyed at closer to room temperature.  Goes very well with mature goat cheese.  I have also found success pairing this wine with pork belly in an Asian inspired sauce.

Although extremely enjoyable now in it’s youth, the wine’s concentration indicates to me the potential to lay down in the cellar for 5-8 years; perhaps more.

2009-06-02_620091683

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine

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About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

Get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com