Thursday, April 8, 2021

If It's Northern Italy, Make It A White Wine

Friuli is in the northeastern tip of Italy, bordered by Austria to the north, Slovenia to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the south.  It is home to the magnificent Dolomite Mountains, and to Tenuta Luisa.  The Dolomites are part of the Southern Limestone Alps, and when it comes to white wine, limestone is the magic word.

The estate got its start in 1907 with Francesco Luisa.  His son, Delciso followed, as did his son Eddi, who still works alongside his wife, Nella.  Now, brothers Davide and Michele are the fourth generation to handle the vineyards and the winery, with generation five waiting in the wings.  

The crown on the label, says Michele, stands for the coat of arms of their hamlet in the village of Mariano del Friuli and represents the Collio hills that "crown" the area.  Their vineyards are in the Friuli Isonzo DOC, containing the name of the river flowing through the eastern part of the Friuli Venezia Giulia wine region.  Their I Ferretti wines get their name from the iron-rich soil in which the grapes grow.

The 2018 Tenuta Luisa Friuli Isonzo Friulano I Ferretti, made with 100% Friulano grapes, is fermented 30% in oak and 70% in steel.  It was awarded the highest status of Tre Bicchieri by Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso.  Alcohol rests at 13.5% abv and the retail price is about $20.

I am not a huge fan of white wines with a floral nose, but in this one it plays very well.  The flowers are subtle, with an overriding minerality coming forward.  That's where I like my white wines to live.  Aromas of tangerine and lemon zest are abetted by the smell of wet rocks and a trace of what smells to me like oregano.  The palate is all about those minerals, with a subdued citrus flavor along for the ride.  The acidity is great, perfect for something from the ocean.  I paired the I Ferretti with a seafood risotto for dinner, and wished that it was on the table at lunch when I had polpo, a grilled octopus salad.

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