Producers to keep an eye out for - Renata Pizzulin, Friuli Isonzo
This is quite a young operation started less than 10 years ago by Renata Pizzulin. Vines were planted in 2007 in 4 vineyards for a total of 2.2 hectares and the first year of production was 2011. Densities of 6,000 vines per hectare, Guyot/spurred cordon pruning systems and environmentally friendly farming are aimed to produce ultra-premium grapes and wines.
The winery is located in Moraro, in the heart of Friuli Isonzo DOC, where the Isonzo river divides the chalk-poor and clay-rich soils mixed with red gravel of the "left bank" from the chalk-rich and gravelly soils of the "right bank". Due to the proximity of the Adriatic Sea, the Isonzo region features a more maritime climate with respect to other DOCs in Friuli. White wines are usually characterised by an exotic aromatic ripeness, high alcohol and body, yet good vibrancy. It's probably the effect of the strong cool and dry wind ('Bora') which from August through October blows from East, preserving the aromatics and freshness of the grapes.
Three white varieties are grown here: Malvasia Istriana, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay; and a red variety: Refosco dal peduncolo rosso. Respectful and light-handed winemaking is adopted in the cellar. The white wines receive at least six months of bottle-ageing, while the reds receive twelve months maturation in barrique followed by a further two in the bottle.
Vines are still quite young and they are just starting expressing a nice minerality that enrich and complements the full character of the white wines. There is a great varietal expression on the nose for all three whites. The Refosco possesses marked verve and bracing acidity with wild berries and a dry, chalky mid palate. Very food friendly.
I can just imagine these wines will gain complexity and become better and better vintage after vintage as vines get older. For the moment they are considerably well priced (£10-£15 range) and offer a great experience for money.
Keep an eye out for this producer!