Stefano Novello is one of those persons who make you realize it is not about flashing a lot of wine bottles or old vintages or expensive wines when you visit them but rather they make you feel at home, treating you like an old friend and sharing with you their most important possession: time. They just welcome you to their home, not only the winery but to their own living room. And you realize what it is important in life, when people like Stefano and his wife Laura treat you like old friends.
Our visit started close to midday after searching in Prepotto, Udine, the Azienda Agricola Ronco Severo. This visit was not going to be like a standard visit that includes vineyard tour and cellar visit. This was much more than that. In Stefano’s living room we found his family along with three more friends enjoying a glass of his excellent Ronco Severo Pinot Grigio 2015. Stefano was giving all of us a lot of explanations about the wines, but mostly it was a friendly conversation about everything. Then it came the Ronco Severo Ribolla Gialla 2015, which obviously was superb. We love the Ribolla in all its forms: dry, young, macerated, sparkling… and this one was macerated and excellent. Ronco Severo Friulano 2015 was next, and it was like starting to cry. Such a wonderful wine with an incredible mouth showing all its balanced maceration and the period on its lees. From the family cellar Stefano brought a bottle of an old Ronco Severo Chardonnay. Maybe 2007? Amazing as well, with a nice and elegant structure.
Along with some prosciutto and cheese (who said cheese was to trick you when drinking wine?) the red wine show started. This area is known by its local variety Schioppettino di Prepotto and the 2013 one Stefano opened was incredible. A luscious wine we had been advised to taste and it was amazing. We are sorry to use so many times “wonderful,” “amazing,” “incredible,” but this is what comes to mind enjoying Stefano’s wines.
The Schioppettino gave way to a special part of the visit: the Merlot. Ronco Severo is known by the high quality of its Artiùl wine, a 100% Merlot. Stefano brought a bottle of the Artiùl 2013, the last one in the market, and it was unbelievable good. We love the Merlot grape and this wine was so great. Powerful yet elegant, with a well-balanced nose and mouth. We were talking about these wines being especially elegant, meaning that even if they can be powerful, their main quality is that they are very well balanced and elegant. As we said, it is very easy to make a powerful wine but it is not that easy to make an elegant wine. Then to prove his point, Stefano went to the cellar with a decanter and brought a sample of his Artiùl 2015. The wine was a bit raw, a bit tannic, but it showed which kind of wine it was going to be in two more years. And then Stefano went to pick up a sample of Artiùl 2016, by the way, both vintages still in the barriques. This one was more potent than the previous one, showing more tannic balance and still green but at the same time it showed that it would be as great as the 2013. Or as great as a bottle Stefano brought later on: Artiùl 2001. Family reserve wine. Absolutely amazing wine, with a young nose full of pepper and black fruit and a body in mouth still on top. The structure was just great.
It was time for us to part ways momentarily with Stefano’s family and friends, but we set up an appointment for two vertical tastings of Merlot and Friulano including a rather good meal. All is set.
It was an amazing time. As we said before, this was much more than just a simple winery visit. It was way more than that. It was sharing a wonderful time with wonderful people, enjoying a common passion about wine and building a great friendship. This is what matters in life.