Colli Orientali del Friuli: Ronco del Gnemiz Six-Pack

I just returned yesterday from the Colli Orientali del Friuli (the Eastern Hills of Friuli), where I led a group of 6 American bloggers on a tasting, eating, and drinking tour of the appellation. You can read about all of the bloggers adventures here.

Ronco del Gnemiz Six-Pack (Colli Orientali del Friuli)
2 bottles Ronco del Gnemiz 2006 Bianco di Jacopo
2 bottles Ronco del Gnemiz 2007 Sauvingon
2 bottles Ronco del Gnemiz 2005 Rosso di Jacopo

$169 plus tax (shipping and handling if applicable)

Click here to order.

Free delivery for San Diego and Los Angeles residents.
Wines will ship Tuesday of next week from San Diego.

The folks at one of my favorite Friulian wineries, Ronco del Gnemiz, like to tease me: “We do all the things that Jeremy doesn’t like for our wines: we use selected yeast for fermentation and we age them in barrique,” said winemaker Christian Patat when I visited him and his lovely wife Serena Palazzolo (whose father bought the property and founded the estate in the 1960s). On paper, I shouldn’t like these wines. But when I first tasted them back in the late 1990s in New York, I was blown away by their freshness, their bright bright acidity, and their genuine fruit and their intense minerality.

Of course, Christian doesn’t use “killer” yeast that creates a manufactured aroma or flavor in this wine. He uses a neutral yeast that allows him to be sure that he will complete the alcoholic fermentation of his white wines before malolactic fermentation begins. (While alcoholic — sugar to alcohol — fermentation occurs in all red wine, malolactic fermentation in white wine turns malic “good” acid, the kind Tracie P and I like, into lactic “buttery” acid.) And when it comes to the application of small cask, Christian is using the wood to oxygenate his wines and not to impart wood tannin or toasty, oaky flavor.

The other thing about these wines is that the folks who make them are super cool. The last time I was in Friuli, Serena and Christian helped me track down a hard-to-find edition of Pasolini’s Friulian poetry. They knew just the bookstore in Udine that would have it. They have a pretty rad jazz collection, too.

The bottom line is I THINK THESE WINES rock and while they are nearly impossible to find on the West Coast, I was able to snag this small allocation. This first six-pack for 2011 features 2 of each label.

Ronco del Gnemiz 2006 Bianco di Jacopo

This wine is named after the couple’s older son and is made from 100% Chardonnay (when’s the last time you heard me recommend drinking Chardonnay from Italy??!!). While I wish I could have included some of their awesome single-vineyard Chardonnay in this offering, the price point would have been too high (the COF blogger group and I were blown away by the 2004 single-vineyard Chardonnay Sol and I can obtain recent vintages for you if you like). Don’t look for Chablis in this wine… Look for Friuli… You won’t be disappointed…

Ronco del Gnemiz 2007 Sauvignon

You might be surprised to see me put this wine after the Chardonnay in the present flight. While I love Ronco del Gnemiz’s interpretation of Chardonnay, the Chardonnay grapes come from some of the estate’s younger vines, making for a more youthful, more approachable expression of the variety. The Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, is the winery’s flagship (in my humble opinion) and it’s with this wine that we start to see some serious structure and complexity. Definitely worth aerating for an hour or so before service. You wouldn’t believe how Mrs. Sancerre herself — Samantha Sans Dosage — was blown away by Serena and Christian’s wines when we tasted them together last week at the winery.

Ronco del Gnemiz 2005 Rosso di Jacopo

50% Merlot 30% both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Schioppettino, 5% Refosco. Merlot in Colli Orientali del Friuli (and Collio) has been a big revelation for me. The unique subsoil of the eastern hills of the region that border Slovenia are made of Ponca:

Dense but brittle ancient seabed, layered in flysch (as it’s known in the technical jargon), a unique expression of calcareous marl that forces the roots of the vines to span out along the layers of rock in search of water. The theory goes that as the roots are stressed by this obstacle, they absorb the minerality of the marl. In the wine, the resulting saltiness combines with the fresh fruit the same way peanut butter and jelly combined in your mouth when you were six. Utterly delicious…

Ronco del Gnemiz Six-Pack (Colli Orientali del Friuli)

$169 plus tax (shipping and handling if applicable)

Click here to order.

Free delivery for San Diego and Los Angeles residents.
Wines will ship Tuesday of next week from San Diego.

1 Comment

Filed under Six Pack

One response to “Colli Orientali del Friuli: Ronco del Gnemiz Six-Pack

  1. Psyched to have found a D.C. distributor for RdG…

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