The eye’s of the wine world are currently steering their gaze upon the city of Bordeaux as the 2016 ‘Primeur’
tastings get into full swing.

But they’re not the only ones to dip and sip from the #V16 barrels. In the small country town of FAEDIS, nestled amongst the wooded hills north east of Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia, they’re doing it too! Curious ?
We’re always curious.

Now not a lot of people may know this, but FAEDIS is one of Italy’s 438 Citta’ del Vino, these are towns and/or townlands that give their name to the local wine.

But in this case the discussion is more than just about their wine.

We’re talking about a mono-varietal red wine produced from their own native grape, REFOSCO di FAEDIS. A variety that apparently once thrived throughout the region, it classically fell on hard times. Fortunately, thanks to the dedication of a handful of local producers around FAEDIS, new life is being injected into its viticultured soul.

Formed in 1998, the Associazione Volontaria Viticoltori del Refosco di Faedis (AVVRdF) , led by Flavia Di Gaspero, has worked tirelessly to promote their small yet determined collective. While on the Italian national register this black grape is listed as Refosco Nostrano, in 2011, the association finally won the legal right to use the name Refosco di Faedis on their label. Just rewards.

Today, 19 years on from their foundation, and with a recognised ‘sottozona’ now under their belt, Refosco di Faedis is a true hometown hero. And we’re delighted to have been invited to join the Team at their ‘Anteprima’ for the Vintage ’16 wines (#V16).

It’s worth noting the Association is comprised of both growers and estate bottlers, the latter of which currently number 10. Yet perhaps the greatest curiosity, that which makes the association so unique, is that they are the only one in Italy to have reached agreement on quality standards and to promote their combined work under a single shared ‘reserve label’ with each producers identity scripted in gold print on the front fascia.

A hugely innovative approach in Italian winemaking circles, their adventure and progress is not going unnoticed.

In addition they’ve enlisted the advice & support of two of Friuli’s finest.

Winemaker & oenologist, Emilio Del Medico, best known for his work with the Bastianich and Tenuta di Blasig wineries, who is advising the association on how best to work with this variety in the cellar. While in the vineyards, they’re being aided by the formidable expertise of native grape aficionado Prof. Carlo Petrussi, agronomist and ampelographer par excellence.

Actually here’s a super clip of Carlo, in the amazing +120 year old Refosco di Faedis vineyard belonging to the Elvio Zani winery. For its age, genetic composition & cultivation management, it’s truly unique in Friuli. Serious heritage folks!

Carlo Petrussi – 120 Yr Old Vineyard Heritage @ Elvio Zani Winery

Tasting Blind opens the Mind

On the Main Menu we had:

13 wines in total, all cask samples.
Featuring 9 of the association producers – Di Gaspero, Zani, Macor, Mosolo, Accordini, Ronc dai Luchis, Celedoni, Perabo’, Sot La Mont.
*Ronc dai Luchis provided 3 samples, Macor & Sot La Mont provided 2 each and the remaining 6 cellars provided 1 sample each.
*All wines tasted Blind.

It was a top vintage for all of Friuli’s reds. With the extended ripening window that opened up from end September to mid October ’16, reaching phenolic maturity in the vineyard was not an issue. Ripe fruit. So how are the early indicators showing right now? In colourful terms, they’re all lively ruby’s running to violet rims, with two samples in particular offering deeper intensity. On the nose, setting aside the youthful vinous charateristics, floral & red fruit notes prevail which carry through to the palate. Indeed these floral notes are a trump card that sets Refosco di Faedis apart from other Refoschi. So too, as we learned, is its usually recognizable acidity. Interestingly though, as a general observation across the wines we tasted, the #V16 acidity didn’t quite sit up as high as we’d expected. That said, the tannins are working to underpin the freshness that is there. All these wines are young reserves that must spend a minimum of 2 years ageing (minimum 18 months in the barrel). So there’s still everything for each producer to play for. It’ll be good to touch base again with this vintage in a years time.

9 wines in total, all cask samples.
To update and evaluate the current evolutionary path of this vintage.
*Featuring 7 association producers – Di Gaspero, Macor, Mosolo, Perabo’, Zani, Ronc dai Luchis and Sot La Mont.
*Di Gaspero & Sot La Mont provided 2 samples each and the remaining 5 cellars provided 1 sample each.
*Again all wines were tasted Blind.

In a rapid fire tasting control, our buds next encountered the 9 samples from the 2015 selection. This means these reds have already passed a year in oak. How are they evolving ? Answer: Very nicely. #V15 was also a quality vintage in Friuli with summer sun, an even distribution of rainfall and desirable day/night temperatures swings. The harvest itself started a little earlier than #V16. Immediately you feel the enhanced structure of these wines. And we don’t see it as just an age thing. They’re more decisive across the board with the grapes signature brighter, more lively acidity shining through. Tannins are active too, again in their supportive role. These will soften & smooth out. Medium weights that are enjoying increasing balance, developing structure, with spice and evolutionary notes already coming to the fore in some. Yep, #V15 is in good shape. Again it’s early days for the #V15’s, but we could already feel tasty potential in the offerings from Ronc Dai Luchis, Di Gaspero, Mosolo & Zani.

Associazione Volontaria Viticoltori del Refosco di Faedis

#V16 Anteprima – Toasty !

We’ve everything still to learn about Refosco di Faedis.

And where better than amongst this inspiring group of passionate winemakers!
We’re honoured to have been invited. No doubt, in time, the greater world of wine will recognise the debt of gratitude that we surely owe each of them for saving one of Mama Natures gifts…
And so our toast of the 2016 Primeurs goes to…REFOSCO DI FAEDIS and the wonderful crew of the AVVRdF….

You folks are really good together !!
‘Til next we meet…..MANDI

Cheers also to HONNE


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