From the producer: Within the gorgeous frame of the vineyards in Vencò-Dolegna del Collio, a few steps from the boundary with Slovenia, Tenuta Sant’Helena stands out. The mild climate, provided by the pro-tection of the Julian Alps northwards and the openness to the Adriatic sea southwards and the fertile soil made up of sandstone marls from Eocene origin create a magnificent environment for grape growing. “Ponca” is, in the Friulian language, the name of this superb terroir. It represents the fundamental starting point from which particular production styles are developed, such as the cold maceration of white grapes, through a short contact with the skins, and a light raisining of red grapes, that are enriched with structure and personality. This is how wines with an intriguing aromatic set, a robust and embracing body and astonishing evolution potentialities are created.
While Friuli Venezia Giulia's (FVG) white wines re-defined what Italian whites could be in the 70's and 80's, FVG was often considered too cold and rainy for late-ripening reds like Cabernet and Merlot as well as regional natives like Refosco or Schioppettino to have too much success. However, as weather patterns have warmed and dried over the region in the last decade or two, the success and quality of FVG late-ripening reds has become undeniable.
Lot 262 2016 Refosco Dal Pedunculo Rosso (which basically translates to Refosco with red stems) is sourced from the estate vineyards of Tenuta Sant'Helena in IGT Trevenezie (DOC Friuli Grave - all Fantinel Family estate vineyard). A native grape to the region, its produced with 20% appasimento (or drying of the grapes) and aged in French and Slovakian oak barriques for 18 months. The resulting wine is robust and hearty with complex, savory fruit capable of decades of ageing. This exact wine was recently awarded 93-points by James Suckling and front-lines for approximately $38/bottle here in the states, if you can find it.
Deep garnet, medium-ruby. With three years in the bottle, the bouquet is wonderfully intense and evolved with sour cherry, savory blackberry and toasty earth complexed with black pepper, tar, coffee, dried meats and anise notes. Medium-full-bodied, seamless, well-integrated and delicately chewy with savory blackberry and dried-yet-fresh and perfumy flowers zinging across the palate.
100% Refosco Dal Penunculo Rosso, 100% estate