July 2019 Selection

Border wines, wines without borders

July 2019 Selection

Simcic Ribolla Gialla 2018 (2 bottles)
Kante Vitovska 2016 (2 bottles)
Vignai da Duline Malvasia Chioma Integrale 2018 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £110.29
Club Discount Price: £96.91
You save: £13.37 (12.12%)

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About this selection...

Between Italy and Slovenia there is a historically and geographically unified wine-growing area. Once a source of noble wines from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the area that includes Collio, Carso and Venezia Giulia is divided between two countries only from an institutional point of view. A political border that has not erased a long common wine history, and that today outlines an interesting and stimulating wine route, where great whites receive soil minerality and depth from the frequent maceration on the skins.

A land of boundaries and castles, and for this reason long disputed, located between the Isonzo and the Iudrio Rivers, Collio represents one of the best wine-producing areas in the North-East. Its administrative epicentre is Gorizia, a Central European city that splits, precisely, between the Italian Collio and the Slovenian Collio, that is, that Brda which, for wine lovers, is also one of the most convincing white wine names in Europe. A wine epicentre? Oslavia, home of Ribolla Gialla and, perhaps, of the greatest Italian orangewines.

A crossroads of cultures and traditions, Collio is a fertile crescent that extends from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic, where usually small wineries which are family-run lovingly cultivate few hectares of the characteristic hillside flysch: a soil of marls (called "ponca" here) and sandstones that, protected by the mountains and ventilated by the sea, they offer wines of great elegance, sapid, of good structure, excellent mineral aromas and splendid longevity.

The other border area, where wines of clear Central European taste are produced, is Carso. Also in this case, there is a Slovenian district - the Kras - that corresponds to the Italian district, which coincides with Venezia Giulia and the small province of Trieste. Around what has been one of the political and cultural capitals of Eastern Europe extends a harsh and complex wine-growing area, made of a flysch which is thin, with caves, crevices, re-emerging waters and rocks.

A karst terroir, in fact, made even more complex by strong winds of bora and by the common soil drought, unsuitable for almost all crops except the vine. The vine we find here, in close contact with the Adriatic but in a substantially continental climate, has developed numerous indigenous varieties: the Istrian Malvasia, of character and graceful aromaticity, the Vitovska, structured and of strong flavour, and, among the reds, the Terrano (or, in Slovenian, Teran), agile, acid and snappy product of the Refosco family.

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Simcic Ribolla Gialla 2018 (2 bottles)

White. Marjan Simcic Brda, Slovenia Ribolla Gialla

Bottle: £11.93 club members / £13.64 non-members

It was in 1988 when Marjan Simčič, together with his wife Valerija, re-established the old family winery, dating back to 1860, in the heart of the Slovenian Collio, Brda. Marjan’s focus, in an area traditionally suited to maceration of white wines and a strictly natural viticulture, is to respect the territory of course, but without excluding from the vineyard and the cellar the fundamental contribution of modern techniques.

Today the winery has about 18 hectares, within which some plants date back to over fifty years ago. For the territory, this is not a small heritage, in an area that is usually quite fragmented, which offers ideal climatic conditions for the growth of vines thanks to the warm marine air that comes from the Friulian Plain and the shelter that the Julian Alps and the plateau of Ternova create against the mountain cold. And then the soils, lying on the typical flysch hills of Gorizia, marl and sandstone, do the rest, producing a range of sumptuous and long-lived wines, but at the same time mineral and sharp.

The younger vines produce the company's classic line, including the Ribolla Gialla, which in Slovenia is called Rebula, which stands out for its traditional nature. Moreover, in a landscape now widely scattered with international excellence, Ribolla is the most representative white native, along with Friulano. In Marjan Simčič’s interpretation, the classic Ribolla macerates on its skins for about 48 hours. A maceration, therefore, which is graceful and far from invasive, which best preserves the freshness and typicality of the grape variety, without, however, giving up structure and complexity.

After staying in steel for at least 7 months on the lees and at least a month in the bottle, this Ribolla is of a beautiful light yellow colour with golden reflections and the bouquet expresses fragrances of lemon, green apple, citrus fruits, and grapefruit. Of course there is also an almond-flavoured background of dried fruit, which is still tight while it’s young, the son of maceration. On the palate it offers a fruity approach that reaches perfection thanks to the harmony of the acids, the full body and the minerality, which is at times salty but never angular.

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Simcic Ribolla Gialla 2018
Front and back

Kante Vitovska 2016 (2 bottles)

White. Kante Carso, Italy Vitovska

Bottle: £16.54 club members / £18.78 non-members

Edi Kante is one of the iconic winemakers of Venezia Giulia, probably the first to have guessed the potential of lean and difficult Trieste soils to produce great wines in the Karst. A charismatic and unconventional character, a vine artist-craftsman, Kante gives his wines a clear and unique style, both to internationals, and, and one could say above all, to the natives. A realm of environmental protection and biodiversity, Kante’s vineyards are distributed in about fifty scattered plots, which give very low yields which is partly due to the very poor soils. Very little fruit and very high quality, in short, also due to the minimal environmental impact of a particularly "wild" viticulture.

Edi Kante’s style is based on two assumptions: separate vinification of the plots, with a first ageing conducted separately in steel or wood, and the absence of maceration on the skins for the white grapes. An almost unusual practice in an area extremely oriented to maceration and to orange wines, which does nothing but restore authenticity and expressiveness to the vines and terroir.

In his evocative wine cellar, dug out from the karst soil and distributed over several floors, Edi Kante creates, among the various excellent wines in his catalogue, a sensational Vitovska. In a vineyard of about twenty years old on soils of red earth and limestone, this vine, probably of Slovenian origin but widespread in the Karst, gives its best. After fermentation, which takes place in wood, it stays for a year in barrique and then stabilises, but without any filtration, in steel.

Grapes of good structure by nature, in Edi Kante’s interpretation, Vitovska takes on a vivid and bright straw colour, with olfactory notes ranging from loquat to apple, from jasmine, to plum, mulberry and wildflower honey. Mentholated, balsamic, peppery and, above all, mineral whiffs conclude a harmonious and splendid counterpoint. It does not disappoint expectations on the palate, confirming its excellent structure but which is balanced, of great complexity, with echoes of officinal herbs and spices that respond to a thick iodine and saline texture. Persistence is, of course, infinite.

  • Alcohol content: 12,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Kante Vitovska 2016
Front and back

Vignai da Duline Malvasia Chioma Integrale 2018 (2 bottles)

White. Vignai da Duline Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy Malvasia Istriana

Bottle: £19.99 club members / £22.73 non-members

Vignai da Duline, a Slow Food "Chiocciola" company, needs to be protected. Protection and enhancement of the territory, to be preserved as uncontaminated as possible, are the cardinal principles that led Lorenzo Mocchiutti and Federica Magrini, in 1997, to undertake this splendid border wine adventure. The approximately six hectares of property, located between the municipalities of San Giovanni al Natisone (a hamlet of Villanova del Iudrio) and Manzano, a few kilometres from Cormons and the Slovenian border, are run according to biodynamic principles and are concentrated around two historic crus, La Duline and Ronco Pitotti, with strains over eighty years old.

Very high quality, low yields, very careful selection, and of course a unique and beautifully enhanced terroir, were the reasons Luigi Veronelli fell in love back then, and are the same reasons why now many fans of healthy and complete wine have fallen in love. The vineyards, grassed and surrounded by woods, grow on the typical soils of the Friuli, marl, sandstone, pebble hills, and in short, destined by nature to give vertical and mineral wines without compromise.

The vineyard of Malvasia Istriana, in the locality of Duline, is a forest. Vignai, in fact, respecting the vegetative cycle of the vines, do not trim the plants, which abound in foliage. The name says it all: Chioma Integrale (full crown). From vineyards that have never seen any chemicals - or, at least, for forty years now - this Malvasia benefits, due to its gentle aroma, its fruit and its decisive mineral thickness, from its calcareous soils and its high average age of plants, which reaches half a century.

Naturally vinified spontaneously and with indigenous yeasts, Chioma Integrale tells of a perfect balance between density and verticality. A faithful mirror of the characteristics of each vintage, it ferments in wood - where malolactic fermentation also happens - and then rests for about eight months, again, between barriques and oak barrels.

Of a visibly incisive straw-colour, the bouquet evokes white peach and citrus fruits, but the overwhelming subtext is of aromatic and medicinal herbs, iodine, salt and full minerality. Vibrant on the bouquet, it is also on the palate. Here there is an explosion of flavour and freshness that immediately makes us aware of the great evolutionary potential of this wine. And then the aromatic returns of sage, citrus fruits and iodine, enriched with a well recognisable vein of dried fruit, guarantee the incisiveness and length of persistence.

  • Alcohol content: 12,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Vignai da Duline Malvasia Chioma Integrale 2018
Front and back

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