by Filippo Bartolotta
The morning prior visiting La Subidaeuros Vinegar factory I had an early stop at La Castellada with the Di Bensas, back in the Oslavje area, near Radikon.
Stefano, the young generation, arrives after a few minutes while we were enjoying the Collio view.
It doesneurot take long before we enter into the cellar to have a taste of the entire production.
Stefano is an eager and open minded taster. He is keen to explore and understand different wine styles from the Collio and even in his own cellar he tastes his stuff willing to discuss it thoroughly.
I was expecting to taste four-five wines, but in the end I had to be dragged out of the cellar by Vanessa as Stefano kept opening a vat after the other.
We kick off with the variety that seems to show better Collio. Ribolla needs loads of sun and maturation to be able to talk terroir.
Almonds, ripe peaches and apple crumb with a round tannin and extra-savory finish.
The alcohol in this Ribolla euro08 is low and the wine is very soft considering the 2 months of skin maceration.
The 2007 Ribolla seemed a little spicier, fuller and creamer but also with a more refreshing kick then euro08. Some oak spices, it is still very young.
2006 Ribolla seems to be hotter but also with more floral touch. Iteuros a very juicy wine with a forrest fruit tannic structure which is right now overpowering the wine. I argue whether or not it will ever smoothen out: we would have to wait longer with this one prior getting it in the market, says Stefano, Ribolla can sometimes be more arrogant and difficult to tame it.
Stefano notice my tasting passion too and he offers to go ahead with the other varieties.
Now iteuros time for the Pinot Gris. We start with a pretty round and creamy euro08 with still a little malo-lactic fermentation going on covering some aromas, but the wine shows good spiciness and texture.
Then we move onto the euro07 macerated (two months) Pinot Gris. This is forrest fruit packed wine with an intense savoriness, almost salty, and a lingering sweet extracted fruit.
Then iteuros time for an experiment of a six months macerated 2007 Pinot Gris.
Beware with this one. The colour is a dark ros! Stefano knows that this wine can be tricky with consumers: what do you think? Is it too much?
I am still looking at the beautiful colour, I get my nose into it and the wine iteuros a red cherries and wild strawberry feast with a licorice earthiness and a lingering spicy and juicy palate. Despite some velvet tannic structure, the wine is so rich and dense with a lemon freshness which puts it perfect balance.
I like it Stefano. I think the colour is the most extreme element of the wine, but once clientele is told I can see this wine been very successful more to complement rather then matching food and wine. It is so easy to drink on his own that could be quite easy also in wine bars.
Later on I spoke to Michele, the sommelier at LaSubida, about the wine. He likes it as well, but he can also see how, in restaurant the wine might be a little difficoult to handle for its extreme colour and character.
I re-tasted a sample back home of the 2006 and I still liked the wine a lot. I later on brought it to a dinner with a group of friends. Among them there was a wine shop owner who went ballistic for it.
I served the wine blind and they all loved it. Everyone agreed that because of its round sweetness, it can be difficoult with a regular Tuscan dinner. Easier as a wine to begin an evening or maybe to finish it of: I wouldneurot mind trying it with La Subida Poppyseeds milk with strawberries!
After a very floral/tropical Tocaj euro07 and a silent but powerful and clean Chardonnay euro07, I loved the complexity and opulence of the S.Blanc euro07 in steel vats better then the oak vat leathery and tobacco brother. The wines will be later blend together and I can see it going just fine.
Then iteuros time for the master blend of Il Bianco della Castellaeuro euro07: Pinot Grigio 45%, Chardonnay 30%, Sauvignon 20%, Tocai Friulano 5%.
It a very seductive and balanced wine, rich with mediterranean herbs, tropical fruit flavours and vanilla. Great acidity complemented by roundness and natural fruit driven structure and length.
This is so far the bestachievementof this beautiful wine estate.
Thank you Stefano.
More Friuli soon...