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Collio rodeo

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For its October agency tasting, the Mo’ Wine Group welcomed the personable Vadim Fonta, whose currently nameless wine agency – unofficially Agence sans nom – is usually referred to by his name. A couple of years ago, Vadim gave up a career in finance for one in wine, a field he felt far more passionate about. His primary focus is on a niche not particularly well represented in Quebec: organic, biodynamic and natural wines from Slovenia, the Balkans and eastern Europe as well as Italy, especially the northeast.

Once again the wines weren’t exactly in flights, though I’ve arranged them into such for reporting purposes.

Collio 2015, Bianco, Edi Keber ($40.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The estate, which has 10 hectares of vineyards, is located a short distance from the Slovenian border. The family has been making wines for more than three centuries though Keber’s first bottled vintage was 1957. This, the only wine it makes, is a blend of Friulano (aka Sauvignon Vert, usually around 70%), Malvasia and Ribolla Gialla from organically farmed vines averaging 40 years old and rooted in “ponka” – poor, stony, friable marl – soil. Manually harvested. Direct pressed (no skin contact). Fermentation in stainless steel tanks with selected, non-aromatic yeasts lasts three to four weeks. Matured one year in concrete tanks except for 20% of the Friulano, which spent six months in neutral tonneaux. Clarified by settling and fining with bentonite. Total production: 60,000 bottles. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Vadim Fonta.
A bit reductive on opening, then dried lemon and limestone with some Sauvignon Blanc overtones. Rich and dense – not heavy – in the mouth. So clean and pure. Layers of yellow fruit (apple, peach), minerals, spice (anise), “almond blossom” and more make for an engagingly complex palate. Gleaming acidity keeps things fresh. The finish is long and bitter-edged, with herbal notes chiming in toward the end. (Buy again? Yes.)

Collio 2011, Bianco, La Castellada ($53.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Founded in the mid-1950s, the estate is located in Oslavia in the Gorizia hills close to the Slovenian border. A blend of Pinot Grigio (50%), Chardonnay and Malvasia from organically farmed vines averaging 35 years old rooted in ponka (see above). The Pinot Gris was direct pressed; the Chardonnay and Malvasia were macerated on the skins for four days. Spontaneous fermentation. Matured one year in stainless steel, one year in 200-litre Slavonian oak barrels, one year in neutral oak barrels and one year in the bottle. Unfiltered and unfined. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vadim Fonta.
Upfront minerals (including, per another taster, “plaster dust”) along with yellow tropical fruits and a shot of creamy vanilla. Richer and more honeyed than the Keber yet also “very savoury.” Great breadth, depth and length. The complex of fruit and minerals is sweetened by oak, lightly soured by acidity and complicated by a light but pervasive bitterness. Several tasters found this a little too rich and oaky, though nearly all conceded they might feel differently if it were served with a fancy seafood dish. (Buy again? A bottle for experimenting with food pairings.)

MWG October 13th tasting: flight 1 of 9

Written by carswell

November 21, 2017 at 12:50

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