Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Friuli's Eastern Hills Make A Beautiful White Wine


The La Roncaia website waxes extremely poetic about Italy's Friuli Colli Orientali DOC zone.  The hills and green terraces, the verdant woods, the glittering sea on the far horizon - I'm sold.  An Italian vacation it is.

The Fantinel family has been making wine in this beautiful region - the eastern hills - for three generations, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down.  As in the rest of the general area of northeastern Italy, the soil's minerality is the key to making a great white wine.

La Roncaia's 2018 Eclisse is a blend of Sauvignon and Picolit grapes grown in the rolling hills between Tarcento and Attimis.  Picolit is usually vinified as a sweet dessert wine, and it enjoyed much popularity in the 18th century among royalties across Europe.  This wine is a Bianco IGT Venezia Giulia bottling.  The grape varieties were vinified separately in a mixture of steel tanks and French oak barrels.  Alcohol hits a reasonable 13.5% abv and it retails for around $20.

The gold-tinted wine has some frizzante - fine, tiny bubbles clinging to the glass.  The nose offers lemon, lime, apricot and a very earthy salinity.  The palate is as mineral-driven as they come - lots of wet stone and citrus at play here, along with a nice bit of acidity.  The savory aspect of this wine simply knocks me out.  Pair with shellfish, or just with crackers and a sharp cheddar.

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