White, Drink now

2011 Ribolla Gialla, Sirch, Friuli

2011 Ribolla Gialla, Sirch, Friuli

White | Drink now | Sirch, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia | Code: 17727 | 2011 | Italy > Friuli > Colli Orientali del Friuli | Ribolla Gialla | Light-Medium Bodied, Dry | 12.5 % alcohol

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The Producer

Sirch, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Sirch, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Owned and run by Luca Sirch, whose brother also doubles as the agronomist at Feudi di San Gregorio, Sirch’s first bottled vintage was only released in 2002; previously they had serviced the local market in bulk. Production is approx. 100,000 bts over 13 labels and 10 different varieties. 80% of the fruit is estate grown. Their ambition is simply to create classical monovarietal wines using clean and modern winemaking methods without overpowering the characteristics of each vineyard. 

They seek to "challenge" the market, making high quality wines available at reasonable prices. The Sirch cantina/winery is located at Cividale del Friuli in the hilly zone of Colli Orientali del Friuli (Eastern hills of Friuli) is one of the historic wine regions of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. These hills are found in the North of Udine province, from the north of the city following the Slovenian border towards the Carnic Alps.

The area of the Colli Orientali around Cividale is amongst the coolest areas of this well-known terroir, and therefore ideal for the production of white wines. The villages around Cividale, Prepotto and Albana have similar characteristics and it is here that most of our vineyards are located. The soils are dominated by Eocenic Marl known locally as Ponca, a soil unique to the Friuli hills.

Across the numerous vineyards we farm, there are areas with higher clay content, and some lighter, sandier soils. The beauty of the Ponca is its capacity to support the high levels of rainfall typical in the region and still bring the grapes to full ripeness without ever losing the richness that is probably unique amongst Italian white wines.

The climate varies between the Mediterranean and continental influences, guaranteeing hot weather and sunshine, but also significant temperature differences between day and night, benefitting the grapes aromatics. The vines are spread around Cividale and divided into often very small plots of different ages. In general they are trellised using the Guyot pruning system or the traditional double arched cane. Each plot is picked separately.

The Grape

Ribolla Gialla

Ribolla Gialla

Ribolla Gialla is an ancient north-eastern Italian white grape. It is traced back to the 13th century and to the province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, in particular the Colli Orientali del Friuli and Collio DOCs. The grape is also cultivated in Slovenia, where it is known as Rebula, and on the Greek island of Kefalonia, from where it originated in the 14th century, known as Robola. Ribolla Gialla is not related to the red grape from the Fruili region, Ribolla Nera, which is also known as Schioppettino.

In the mid 1980s, many Ribolla Gialla vines in Fruili were replaced with more commercial international varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, but the recent revived interest in indigenous varieties has resulted in new plantings.

Admired for producing light-medium bodied, unoaked wines with floral aromatics and a stony, citrus palate. It is a white wine that perfectly accompanies oysters, and grilled seafood.

The Region

Colli Orientali del Friuli

Along with Collio, Colli Orientali del Friuli is the finest DOC zone in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Situated in the Julian Alps on the border with Slovenia, much of its quality is down to its calcareous and sandstone landscape and 400m altitude. High planting densities, older vines, poor soils (especially compared to the flood plains below) and a challenging continental climate all assist in achieving lower yields and greater concentration in the wines.

Perhaps surprisingly, Sauvignon Blanc is the king of the whites here, producing fuller bodied but also taut and minerally examples. Indigenous varieties Ribolla Gialla and (Tocai) Friulano follow hot on its heels. The reds are led by the Refosco grape which achieves blackberry richness alongside a minerally poise. Next best is Pignolo, the region’s answer to Nebbiolo, while Merlot runs a close third.

Recommended producers: Canus, Davino Meroi and Miani

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