Collio – Brda

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Toros Franco. Friulano 2006. Collio. DOC. (magnum) .

Toros owns 12 hectares and Franco is the fifth generation winemaker. His winery and home is very discreet and one would be hard pushed to identify it as a winery from the road. He makes a number of different wines of which his Friulano is perhaps his most famous (Friulano is now the semi-official name of the wine known as Tocai Friulano following a ruling by the European Court in favour of Hungary). The Friulano is an auctocthonous variety which grows a very consistent grape, producing a similar quality each year. It is an intense grape which produces wines high in alcohol, high in aromas and flavours and has a very creamy texture. Toros’ wines are characterised by their cleanliness, freshness and elegance.

Movia. Puro rosé, 2001. Primorska, Brda (Slovenia).

Founded in 1820, Aleš Kristancic is the eighth generation winemaker in his family. The winery is hidden in the hills on the Italian/Slovenian border — don’t expect your GPS to find it, GPS doesn’t work in this part of the world. The winery was the only establishment not nationalised by President Tito when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, in part, because Aleš’ grandfather was a general with Tito’s partisans during the war. I was worried about including Puro in this supper as I wanted to include only wines which had some association with Venice but I was relieved to find that the winery was once part of the Venetian Republic. During its history the Movia estate has been located in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Italian Kingdom, Yugoslavia and then Bohemia. Aleš is a biodynamic farmer and passionate about it so much so that he argues Rudolf Steiner was a Slovenian. Most authorities credit Steiner with being born in Austria whereas in reality he was born in Croatia (on the border with Slovenia). He makes several wines using autocthonous varieties . He owns 31 hectares of which 19 are given over to wine production. The rest are given over to olive trees, apricots, almond trees and apple trees.

Puro is a spumante made with Pinot Nero 60%, Chardonnay 10%, and Ribolla Gialla 30%. One might think that the Pinot Noir was not an original varietal at Movia but they have been growing it since the beginning. Aleš’ grandfather and father of always wanted to make a spumante. Obviously, they wanted to make a rose given that they had Pinot Noir growing in their vineyards. They age the wine for 3 years in oak barrels and they use the must aged from another harvest to create the appropriate conditions for the ‘prise de mousse’.

The character of the wine is that it is fresh and clean but very long and dry (they add no additional sugar). The fact of leaving the wine undisgorged means that the wine will age well without the usual oxidative qualities of, say, a vintage Champagne.

The Collio zone in Friuli Venezia Giulia comprises approximately 1500 hectares of hillside vineyards, which extend along the northerly part of the province of Gorizia bordering Slovenia. The proximity of the Julian Alps provides an adequate shelter against the cold northerly winds and the neighbouring Adriatic sea helps to ensure that the micro-climate is mild and temperate. Indeed whilst the region was part of the Habsburg Empire Gorizia was known as the ‘Nice of the Adriatic’. The soils of the Collio are rich in alkaline and calcium carbonate. This has an a strong impact on the organic make-up and minerality of the grapes produced in the wine contributing to their aromatic qualities. Due to its situation the temperature is seldom very hot in the summer.

The Slovenian Collio (or Brda) is a continuation of the same type of terrain as on the Italian side. Movia’s vineyards are just a few hundred metres from the Italian border.

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