Thanks to Klaus Gasser of Terlano winery I learned about an intriguing producer in Friuli called Miani. Klaus ordered a bottle of Miani’s Ribolla Gialla during an epic dinner we shared with some of the Banville & Jones winemakers at Las Vegas’ CarneVino last month.
And yes, “Epic” is also the only word to describe this wine.
The Miani estate is located in the Colli Orientali DOC portion of Friuli, bordering the hilly shoulders of Slovenia. Miani’s current winemaker, Enzo Pontoni, took over the family winery after abandoning his engineering career for a newly discovered love affair within the vines. I have heard tales that Enzo is almost 7 feet tall- a giant among men, and winemker of truly mythic proportions. I understand he has a commanding, unmistakable presence- un compromising and focused when it comes to tending his vines and crafting his wines. In total he producers around 700 cases of wine each year, all according to his own rigrous, organic and uber-natural methodology.
Enzo treats each vine as if it were its own microcosm in the vineyards. They are each individual personalities in the vineyard, which he struggles to coax into self-expression each season. Although the cellars are tiny and humble, they are more than enough for the fantastic alchemy that allows these grapes to be transformed into astonishing and elegant wines.
The Miani Ribolla Gialla was pale yellow, heavy and viscous in the glass, and redolent of dried sage, pineapple and candied citrus rind. In the mouth the was a startling acidity, followed by loads of luscious ripe fruit- yellow plums, bosc pears, all bracketed by a dry, mineral finish. This wine has a serious potential to age- I would not be surprised to find 30 or 40 years could only improve this stunning white wine.
Thanks Klaus, for your continued education of Italian Wine Geeks everywhere.