The more we taste white wines with longer periods of maceration in contact with the skins the more we like them. It is funny being in a wine tasting and seeing people’s faces when they taste one of these wines. They say the wine is unclean, or the wine tastes dirty, or the variety characteristics are not identifiable, while we look at the glass and we simply love the wine. We are aware that lately our wine taste has changed a lot, we run away from mainstream wine than doesn’t give us anything. On the contrary, these other wines are incredible to us. And they are a world to discover, being the wines from Georgia, France, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria or our beloved Friuli-Venezia-Giulia in Italy.
We are happy in our ‘freaky style’ of wines. In fact, we have had the chance to discover great wines and meet wonderful people making these wines. As we have discussed in the past, the people in Wineworld is the real treasure you can discover here. If not for them for their passion, for their love for the terroir and their love for understanding wine, we wouldn’t be here talking about what they do.
Dario Prinčič is one of these wine producers from Friuli. One day, a few vintages ago, he decided to start elaborating wine with the grapes he was cultivating, instead of selling them to local wineries. The year was 1993. After a few years doing wine in, let’s say, the regular way, he decided to experiment with longer period of must maceration in contact with the skins with part of the wines. The experiment was a success and the next harvest he started doing it with all his production.
Azienda Agricola Dario Prinčič is located in the village of Oslavia, just north of the town of Gorizia, and a few steps from the border with Slovenia. Maybe this location rings a bell for you, and yes, you are right. Dario Prinčič is one of the members of the association called Associazione Produttori Ribolla Di Oslavia, formed by Italian producers elaborating wines with the Ribolla Gialla variety, which they call the Yellow Soul of Oslavia. Six producers created the association: Silvan Primosic, Dario Prinčič, Stanko Radikon, Rinaldo Fiegl, Franco Sosol (Il Carpino) and Nicolò Bensa (La Castellada). Have you tasted Ribolla Gialla? Here in Oslavia you can find wines produced in different styles: dry, young dry, oak aged, Orange and sparkling. Sometime soon even sweet, so it is more than worth it giving it a try.
10 hectares densely planted (about 8.000 vines per hectare) form the property, with almost all the vineyards with a Southeast exposure. The land is very steep, the soil is clay and sandstone and they do everything by hand.
After harvest, once the grapes are in the cellar they are de-stemmed and placed in open oak vats for the maceration with no temperature control, no added yeasts and no use of sulfur whatsoever.
Dario employs different periods of maceration depending on the variety of the grape. The variety with the lesser time of the must in contact with the skins is the Pinot Grigio, for 8 days, and it goes all the way to the 45 days of the Cabernet Sauvignon. Grape skins must be always covered with wine. Thus, during all the process the cap is pushed down manually 3-4 times a day. After pressing, the must goes to old wooden barrels and barriques. Before bottling, the wine stays 6 months in stainless steel tanks for natural fining. During bottling a small addition of sulfur (15–20 mg/l) is done. The wines are bottled unfiltered and often show a brilliant orange color in the glass.
Five white wines and two red wines for the production of Azienda Agricola Dario Prinčič. Three white wines are single varietals, all Venezia Giulia IGT:
Ribolla Gialla: The yellow Ribolla is the most important of the local varieties. Its thick skin is one of most indicated for long maceration periods. The maceration usually lasts 35 days in open oak vats without temperature control. The aging is done in old oak barrels for 24 months.
Jakot. 100% Tocai Friulano. Another local variety. The maceration usually lasts 22 days in open oak vats. The aging is done in old oak barriques for 24 months.
Pinot Grigio. This is an unusual macerated Pinto Grigio. Dario’s Pinot Grigio has an amber color due to the skin contact maceration that usually lasts 8 days. The aging is in old oak barriques for 18 months.
Then we have two white blends:
Bianco Trebež. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay (30%), Sauvignon (40%) and Pinot Grigio (30%). The maceration takes place separately: Pinot Grigio stays on the skins for 8 days, Chardonnay and Sauvignon for 18 days. After that time the must of these grapes are mixed together and it ages in old oak barrels for 20 months.
Favola: This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano and Ribolla Gialla. After an attack of Peronospora (fungal disease) in 2008 the whole production has been compromised, only 10 percent of grapes have been saved. Skin contact maceration lasted 60 days. The aging was in old oak barriques for 30 months.
Finally we have two red single varietals:
Merlot. 100% Merlot. The maceration lasts 35 days in open oak vats. The aging is in old oak barriques for 7 years.
Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine with the longest maceration period, 45 days in open oak vats. The aging is done old oak barriques for 9 years.
Soon we will talk to Dario about his wines and his winemaking philosophy.