Decanter’s Friuli day featured both a master class by Peter McCombie MW and the chance to taste a large range of wines from about 30 producers from this most northeasterly region of Italy. This was a good complement to our recent Mario Schiopetto tasting which showed how house style is important as grape variety. Peter, genial New Zealander that he is, chose to highlight the different styles which can be made from two of the main grape varieties – Pinot Grigio and Friulano – and to touch on Malvasia Istriana and Ribolla Gialla, before finishing with two local red varieties, Schiopettino di Prepotto and Pignolo. So in summary, this was an excellent overview.
And what were the wines like? Starting with the majority of whites, Malvasia Istriana is an attractive and aromatic variety, Muscat but with better manners! Ribolla Gialla, by contrast, is light and floral, with some bruised apple notes, ‘not a screaming personality’ said Peter. The contrasting approaches between the producers of the two big varieties were real but the overall impression is of subtle variation and excellent winemaking, not ‘screaming personality’. In other words, these are classy wines showing real balance, a good weight and structure, all intended to be drunk with food. The two reds were strongly contrasting, Schiopettino di Prepotto,a long varietal name for a fragrant, spicy and refreshing light red, while Pignolo in the right hands produces a good depth of cherry and plum fruit with good if powerful tannins.
Friuli is something of a connoisseur’s region but really worth pursuing.
PS Janet and I were interviewed on video by Decanter at this tasting – there was a couple of sections from us in a short video: fame indeed!
Ronco del Gelso
Castello di Buttrio