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Vignai da Duline, Venezia Giulia Malvasia Istriana Chioma Integrale, 2016

White Wine from Other Italy, Italy
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Creamy on the palate with a pronounced bouquet that includes Asian pear, lime, fresh and herbs. A perfect seafood pairing.


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It's hard not to think of a great Meursault when drinking Vignai da Duline's superb Friulian Chardonnay. It's the structure: a lithe, almost water-pure center, swaddled in glittering golden lees that emanates richness without heaviness.

So it's not a total shock that winemakers Lorenzo and Federica have a Burgundian fanclub. Hubert de Montille and Jean-Marc Roulot were so smitten with the wine that they invited Lorenzo to Burgundy to explain the finer points of his process, and now Vignai de Duline trades wine annually with quite a few producers in the Côte de Beaune.

I think Vignai da Duline is one of the best and most underrated producers in all of Italy. This extends well beyond the Chardonnay; everything they make is first-rate, red and white alike. The explosion of crushed pepper and roses that is their Schiopettino is a vernal delight, and precious few Saint-Emilions could match the unfettered majesty of their marvelous Merlot.

There's very fine terroir here – two small vineyards, made predominately of limestone and clay, neither very far from the sea. Neither has seen conventional chemical treatments since at least the 1930s - maybe never. Farming is radically hands-off, influenced by the Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. Treatments are limited to the very occasional use of of copper sulphate and pine resin.

Winemaking is also low-intervention, but the wines come across as deeply considered and classical rather than untamed nature-wine.

What importer Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant has to say about this wine...

• Blend: Malvasia Istriana
• Winemaker: Federica Magrini, Lorenzo Mochiutti
• Vineyard: Planted in 1960, .53 ha
• Soil: Limestone and clay red soil
• Aging: Aged for 7-8 months, 50% in 5-year old + 11hl oak barrel, 50% in 2.5hl barrels between 5 and 15-years old
• Farming: Organic (practicing)
• Aged for 7-8 months, 50% in 5-year old + 11hl oak barrels and 50% in 2.5hl barrels that are between 5 and 15-year old
• Aged in bottle for 3-4 months
• Chioma in Italian means “long hair” and “canopy of tree leaves.” This relates to the Duline vineyard management philosophy where they do not trim the vines during the growing season. The vines are allowed to have “long hair” or are free to grow their canopy. This is true from all Duline vines, not just the Malvasia.


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