January 16, 2008 - Jack
2006 Miani Ribolla Gialla Wine Blogging Wednesday #41
This month's theme is White wines from the
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
We are the hosts this month. The round-up is up.
Gravner, Miani, Jermann and Radikon are probably the top four producers in this region. We've profiled Gravner before, so this month we are focusing on the other two that we have bottles from...
2004 Jermann Capo Martino

2004 Jermann Capo Martino
Bianco Venezia Giulia IGT

Silvio Jermann is regarded as one of the top young winemakers in all of Italy. Established in 1881, he and his family farm 198 acres of vines. You will sometimes see this winery is listed as 'Jermann Vinnaioli'.

Capo Martino is often Jermann's top wine, followed by Vintage Tunina (Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Picolit - Gambero Rosso's White Wine of the Year, 1997), Dreams (the reserve Chardonnay, which changes its name every so often, but always has the word Dreams in it for example: Were Dreams... Now it is just wine), Vinnae (Ribolla), Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. In some years, Jermann also makes a Traminer Aromatico and a Riesling called Afix.

Jermann also makes three reds, Blau & Blau (90% Blaufränkisch and 10% Pinot Noir), Red Angel on the Moonlight (Pinot Noir), and Pignacolusse (100% single-vineyard Pignolo). I recently tasted the Red Angel and thought it was quite good.

The Capo Martino is fermented and aged in Slovenian 750 liter oak barrels for 12-16 months.

The 18.5 acre Capo Martino vineyard was purchased by Silvio Jermann in 1991, and 1991 was the first vintage of this wine. The 2004 blend is mostly Tocai Friulano, with smaller percentages of Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit. It was also the first wine made at their new facility in April, 2006.
(This wine has "In Rotårs" on the label, which is the area name that is adjacent to the vineyard. The label previously read "In Ruttåris".)

Map of theCapo Martino Vineyard - Jermann
The Capo Martino vineyard in Rotars.

Joanne's Tasting Notes:
Nose of hay and honey with minerals underlying. There are also elements of white gooseberry, elderflower or chamomile flowers at play with a hint of eucalyptus The color is a light gold. The clarity of this wine is notable.

The flavors are bright and crisp, like a ripe asian pear and straw with lots of minerals. There is a hint of honey but not the sweetness - just the flavor. A little bitterness like the peel on the asian pear. The finish is very clean with flowers and straw lingering.

Jack adds: With no hint of sweetness, this dry white, at this time, is simply hinting at future complexity. It has serious yet well-balanced acids which makes me think this wine has a life of more than the mere 10 they suggest on Empson's website. I'd wait to open this for at least 5 years. I'm very undecided if it's the worth the money; to drink it right now - no. But someday...?! 3?

Here are some additional Jermann tasting notes from August, 2007. I also really, really enjoyed a bottle of the 1995 Vintage Tunina recently.

Jermann wines are imported into the US by Empson Imports. Empson has a tremendous amount of information on Jermann, including a great .pdf file on Jermann: if you scroll down to page 10, you'll see a super-detailed breakdown of the wine's front and back wine labels – it's very well done! Jermann wines aren't that hard to find in both very good wine stores and restaurants with good Italian wine choices.
2006 Miani Ribolla Gialla

2006 Miani Ribolla Gialla
Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC
$89-$125 + Very difficult to find
(Miani are priced like cult wines)

Miani is the winery of the very talented and respected Enzo Pontoni. This small, no, tiny winery, has miniscule yields, like a few of the best wineries in the world, meaning that production quantities are very small. 700 cases small. Pontoni organically farms his own 10 acres and the 22 acres he rents.

In addition to this Ribolla, Enzo Pontoni makes two Tocai Friulano (Buri and Filip), a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay and three reds; two Merlot (Buri, Filip - $200 each) and a Refosco, Calvari ($400).
(Perhaps you're thinking that no one else even makes a wine from Refosco grapes that retails for $400? You might be right.)

Miani's Ribolla is one of the two highest priced Ribolla Giallas in the world (the other being Gravner's). I believe this wine has very good aging potential, as do the best Ribolla Gialla. We've had a 1959 from Movia which seems to prove this theory.

Note: We just received this wine - it's suffered a lot of travel shaking in the last week, and is a very new release. We will update the following notes when we open a second bottle in a few years.

Joanne's Tasting Notes: Nose of straw and shale. The center has some viscosity and roundness and buttery-ness but is also full of acids, minerals and sweet citrus with a clean crisp finish and a lingering note of ripe grapefruit.

Jack adds: Clear, pale yellow in color. Citrus and acids on the tongue with a pleasant mouthfeel. A lot going on, but so young, its complexity isn't focusing right now. This Ribolla has a medium to long finish with the right amount of acids. Reminds most of an dry chenin blanc. In 4-6 years, I want to be drinking this (or at least, reevaluating it). 3+

Other notes from Jack: Miani has attained cult status - simply excellent wines produced in micro quantities. The reds sell for $200-$450/bottle. I've never seen a bottle of a Miani wine on a retailer's shelf, but they're not completely impossible to acquire. We've drunk a bottle of the 1997 Miani Rosso; it was dense and wonderful, but clearly needed another 6-12 years of aging... and is, at least, a 30-40 year wine.

Enzo Pontoni is also the consultant winemaker at Meroi.

The US importer is Small Vineyards, but this is the only winery in their portfolio that they haven't created a page for.
Miani does not seem to have a website. Email me if you are desperate for some, and I'll try to steer you to a source (do this very soon). You'll also find Miani wines at a few of the best Italian restaurants. (They might not be on the list, so you should ask...they'll be quite expensive.) I have never seen a bottle of Miani on a retailer's shelf.

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