A recent business trip to Italy made me realize how wrong I was about some wine things. I have always been appealed to those wine professionals who when they go to visit wineries they are offered a wide array of old vintages, something that they can only do in very rare occasions and that are off-limits for the rest of us winelovers and wine writers. In this particular visit I was mentioning before I met four extraordinary persons who made me realize my mistake: Stefano Novello and his wife Laura from Azienda Agricola Ronco Severo in Prepotto, Udine (whom we will talk about in a later article) and Ana and Franco Sosol from Azienda Agricola Il Carpino in San Floriano di Collio, Gorizia. I saw that it is not about old vintages, it is not about twenty different bottles of wine, it is not about expensive wines. Plain and simple, it is about time. Time is our most precious possession in our passage through life and when you are able to share time with special people as the Sosols, soon you realize how fortunate you are.
Our visit to Il Carpino started nice and easy at 16:00, around a table with an easy conversation about wine and our passion for wine. Then one or two bottles, just to start tasting their production, more conversation, couple more bottles, more conversation, more wine, some cheese and prosciutto, a sparkling wine they are producing in such low quantities they don’t sell it, a visit to the cellar, tasting from the barrels, visit to the vineyards, then more conversation, few pictures, and off to dinner with them. In the dinner you meet their friends, start talking and joking with them, shariong a glass of wine with them, the restaurant owner offers his homemade Cabernet/Merlot wine and some local Picolit and by the time you go home is past 23:00. The Sosols made a winery visit a great day and an unbelievable experience that you will not ever forget. They shared with us time, quality time, passion, love and friendship. Who wants 1993, 1984 or 1966 when you can have this kind of friendship over a bottle of 2013?
We have talked in a previous article about Il Carpino and their wine production. The Sosols have a biodynamic non-interventionist philosophy, leaving the wine express itself. Their white wines of the Il Carpino Line are all macerated and we were joking that once you go macerated, you don’t go back. And it is true. We tasted all their Il Carpino Line, their top wines. For starters we tasted Vis Uvae (skin-macerated Pinot Grigio for ten days with an ageing of 12 months in botti di Slavonia, 11 months in steel tank and 24 months in bottle) and Exordium (skin-macerated Friulano for ten days with an ageing of 12 months in botti di Slavonia, 11 months in steel tank and 24 months in bottle). These two wines were spectacular, with the Friulano being so addictive. The maceration is very delicate and it does not give the wine a strange color or taste but rather some amazing sensations when tasting it.
Next we enjoyed the Il Carpino Chardonnay (skin-macerated for seven days with an ageing of 12 months in botti di Slavonia, 11 months in steel tank and 36 months in bottle), the amazing Il Carpino Ribolla Gialla. This 2012 vintage had a maceration of 55 days, then it stayed 24 months in oak and 24 months in bottle.
I’m in love with the Malvasia of Friuli and the Il Carpino Malvasia (skin-macerated for seven days with an ageing of 12 months in botti di Slavonia, 11 months in steel tank and 24 months in bottle) is just a wonderful wine. Elegant, delicate, very well balanced and with a breathtaking nose.
Franco disappeared for a moment and when he came back, he brought a bottle of Il Carpino Sauvignon 2007. He said they still had ten bottles of this vintage. Now it is just nine. Did I use before the words amazing, wonderful, and elegant? Well, this wine sums it all. It is such a wonderful wine.
Then it was time to go to the cellars, where Franco gave us samples of Friulano 2016 still in the barrels. The first sample came from a big Eslavonian botti. The second one from a 225-liter French oak barrel and the third one from a small concrete egg. It was very interesting to see the difference between each vessel and how it affects the wine. For us the botti Friulano was just a few centimeters ahead of the other two. We also tasted Ribolla Gialla 2016. Simply awesome.
Then we went to the vineyards. It was very special feeling to be surrounded by Ribolla Gialla grapes in the heart of Oslavia and also being able to see the way they work there. The big Guyot training system, the canopy management and the rows full of grass covering the local Ponca soil.
During dinner, we finished the tasting bottles and Ana and Franco brought another special wine: Il Carpino Rubrum 2009, the last vintage of their single-varietal Merlot wine. We love Merlot and the only thing to be said about this wine is that our nose was inside the glass for we don’t know how long. Time stood still while we enjoyed this wine.
It was an amazing time the one we shared with Ana and Franco Sosol. As we said before, this was way more than just a simple winery visit. It was much more than that. It was sharing a wonderful day, enjoying a common passion about wine and building a great friendship. After all, these are the things that matters most in life.