2018 I Clivi R-B-L Brut Nature

2018 I Clivi R-B-L Brut Nature

Regular price $26


Region: Colli Orientali del Friuli > Friuli > Italy

Grapes: Ribolla Gialla

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic farming, marl and sandstone
soil, 70 year old vines; made in the ancestral method, there is no
secondary fermentation and therefore no addition of sugar and yeast;
grapes are pressed and the must is transferred to an open vat for
fermentation. Towards the end of the fermentation, when the residual
sugar is around 25 grams per liter, the vat is closed to trap the CO2
released by the fermentation. This differs from the ancestral method,
which finishes fermentation in the bottle. The juice is then left in
the same vat to mature on its lees until bottled under pressure;
bottled un-disgorged with no added SO2; 12.5% ABV

Winemaker: Mario Zanussa

Natty wine lovers probably know the country of Slovenia for its
delicious and unique, white (and often orange) wines. The Italian
region of Friuli is adjacent to Slovenia and they share many grapes
and winemaking traditions, but even here, few producers demonstrate
the synergy between a grower, his vision and the corresponding wines
as well as I Clivi. Founder Ferdinando Zanussa founded the estate in
1996, purchasing 12 hectares of vineyards planted with old vines –
these vines are now all 70 – 80 years old!  He immediately converted
to organic farming and has always tread lightly in the cellar.
Ferdinando's son Mario is now at the helm, carrying on his dad's
philosophy, which he describes as was letting "history speak through
the wine, by making as transparent a wine as possible, in which soil,
climate and tradition may come fully through and be perceived without
interferences. A wine truly grown, whose character is shaped entirely
in the vineyard by soil, climate and vines and is in no way altered in
the cellar, a wine that stands solely on itself,  and is not made to
suffer any intervention or 'improvement'. In short, purest terroir
expression.  So, these guys have been doing the natural "nothing
added, nothing taken away" thing since '96, before there was a natural
wine movement or trend or whimsical bottle art.  That's just the way
they make wine in these parts, and it's all about the quality and
purity of the juice.

Mario works with three single vineyards, one of which is the Ribolla
Gialla featured in the RBL.  This is a serious sparkler that rivals a
fine Champagne, though the production method is much simpler, with
nothing added (yeast + sugar) to start a second fermentation (as in
Method Champenoise).  But this bottle proves that the ancestral method
can produce a wine as serious and complex as any traditional method
wines.  It's bone dry, with the faintest whiffs of brioche from the
lees contact, but the minerality and floral aspect of the Ribolla
grape dominate.  It tastes pure and pristine, like a glass of rocks
and white flowers under a veil of fresh snow, a holiday cocktail for
the Snow Queen.  An excellent gift (at a much friendlier price) for
any Champagne lover, or opener for your holiday celebrations, however
they may look in 2020.

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