July 19, 2017

Vie di Romans, Friuli Isonzo

2015 ‘Ciampagnis’ Chardonnay
Retail:  $49.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs)

2015 ‘Piere’ Sauvignon
Retail:  $58.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs)

2015 ‘Dessimis’ Pinot Grigio
Retail:  $59.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs)

2008 ‘Ciampagnis’ Chardonnay
Retail:  $61.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs - wood case)

2008 ‘Piere’ Sauvignon
Retail:  $69.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs - wood case)

2008 ‘Dessimis’ Pinot Grigio
Retail:  $69.95 / btl  (6 btl/cs - wood case)

Order deadline is 31 July - for delivery in early autumn.
Estimated prices are subject to currency and LCBO changes.


Italy's Greatest White Wines?

Vie di Romans is one of Italy’s most esteemed estates. Considered by many to be the best whites in all of Italy, the wines are highly concentrated, mineral and textured expressions of pure varietal character. The immaculate estate comprises 53 hectares in the Isonzo Valley — 5 km east to Slovenia, 80 km north to the Alps, 20 km south to the Adriatic. Gianfranco Gallo took over management of the estate from his father in 1978, when we was only 19, and introduced a number of radical viticultural programs. Fanatical attention to detail in the vineyard and cellar, and an undying curiosity make these some of the best, most unique wines in Italy.

The soils here are deep and calcium-rich, created by glacial erosion. Daylight hours are long due to northerly latitude (46º), and the Bora wind blows constantly from the East, creating fluctuations in daytime temperatures as well as large diurnal range. This slows the ripening process, allowing for the grapes to develop wonderful complexity throughout their long maturation. Low yields (from high planting density) and late picking both add concentration to the fruit. 

In the cellar, the wines are treated to a completely anaerobic environment — crushing & de-stemming, long maceration, and pressing are all performed under the protection of nitrogen, designed to preserve aromatics and show off the true character of the grape. The fruit from each vineyard block is treated separately in the cellar to express the terroir of that site. The wines are then aged in a mix of older and new barriques, tailored to the vineyard source. Blending, if any, comes after.

In 1990 Gianfranco completed the first stage of a highly specific new winery, designed to handle the fruit for his vineyards parcel by parcel, and in a way that maximized the potential for his vision of quality and character. At this time, Vie di Romans replaced the family name on the labels, as a certain American wine company demanded a change of name on this historic estate. And now Tommaso has joined his parents in the winery, having completed his degree in oenology & viticulture, and spent time working internationally. These are very fine people, continuously challenging themselves to increase the quality and characte of their wines. The results are truly impressive.


The Wines

Ciampagnis Chardonnay

From the Ciampagnis Vieris vineyard, Gianfranco suggests that this wine will reach its peak maturity in 8 years, and cellar well for 20-24 years. The vines average 24 years of age, planted 6,000 vines/ha, on shallow, well-drained soils with a generous gravelly-pebbly texture and some reddish clay - indicating ferrous and aluminum oxides. Ciampagnis is the more linear of the VdR Chardonnays. Malolactic is inhibited, and the wine spends 8 months on its' lees in barriques of a variety of age.

Antonio Galloni on Vie di Romans (confession – The Gallo family is related to Galloni's wife's family):

 "Gianfranco Gallo is one of just a few growers in Friuli with a truly global vision of the wine world. Not surprisingly, his are some of the finest wines in the region. Over the last few vintages the Vie di Romans whites seem to have become more finessed, which is a huge positive."

2015 Ciampagnis Chardonnay

Not yet reviewed. When we tasted this wine in April, we were excited to find the wine already approachable, forward and beautifully balanced. The high-toned floral and mineral-saline notes are highly appealing. Note that with the 2015 vintage, Gianfranco has eliminated the word Vieris from the vineyard name for simplicity, but it is exactly the same vineyard as always.

2008 Ciampagnis Vieris Chardonnay

90 points – Antonio Galloni, RobertParker.com
"The 2008 Chardonnay Ciampagnis Vieris emerges from the glass with generous layers of ripe tropical varietal fruit, flowers and sweet toasted oak. The Ciampagnis Vieris shows marvelous inner perfume and richness in a style that is totally convincing. The wine's textural richness, balance and polish are all first-rate. Most producers would be thrilled to have the Ciampagnis Vieris as their top label, but here it is the second Chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018."


Piere Sauvignon Blanc

The Piere vineyard is planted to mostly Italian clones of Sauvignon, averaging 16 years of age. It's a high-density / low-yielding vineyard at 6,000 vines/ha on medium-deep soil with some gravelly-pebbly texture and silica-rich clay, producing less than 1 kg of fruit per plant. Malolatic is not permitted, and the wine spends 8 months on its' lees in inox, never seeing oak. (In comparison, the Vieris vineyard is planted primarily with French clones of Sauvignon, and that Sauvignon Blanc matures in barrique.) Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Friuli for well over 100 years, and is considered a native variety. Traditionally called Sauvignon, with the 2015 vintage the full name Sauvignon Blanc is now permitted on the label.

Monica Larner, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, on Vie di Romans:

 "Gianfranco Gallo's Vie di Romans is one of the most accomplished, quality-minded estates in Italy."

2015 Piere Sauvignon Blanc

Not yet reviewed. This is a vibrant, highly aromatic wine. Notes of kumquat, orange peel explode from the glass. On the palate, it's pure Sauvignon, very bright. Fruit and mineral element are harmonious. This is very clean & elegant.
We had the great pleasure to taste some older vintages of Piere alongside this 2015. The 1993 and 1997 vintages were a true revelation. My notes for the '93 specifically state 'crazy good!, surprisingly youthful."

2008 Piere Sauvignon

92 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Piere Sauvignon is a fabulous wine. Expressive varietal aromatics are deftly balanced by pears, white peaches and almonds. There is a weightless elegance to the Piere in 2008 that is particularly beautiful. Pure, crystalline aromas and flavors come together in the glass, supported by a chiseled vein of minerality that gives the wine its sense of proportion. The finish is textured and totally harmonious. This is a stunning 2008 Sauvignon considering how challenging the harvest was for most growers. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016."


Dessimis Pinot Grigio

The Dessimis vineyard is similar to the Ciampagnis vineyard – shallow, well-drained soils with generous gravelly-pebbly texture and some reddish clay. The high-density planting (6,000 - 7,800 vines/ha) yields barely 3/4 kg per plant. Average vine age is 18 years. Malolactic is not permitted, and the wine spends 9 months on its' lees. All these factors contribute to a very complex, age-worthy expression of Pinot Grigio. Unlike the commercial stuff, VdR Dessimis Vineyard Pinot Grigio has a pale salmon colour, reflecting the natural colour of this noble variety's grape skins. As Gianfranco attests, greater phenolic ripeness brings more colour to the skins – ie farming for quality & character; reflecting the terroir and the full potential of this variety, instead of farming for dollars & volume. Testament to this statement of quality, Gianfranco suggests the Dessimis Pinot Grigio will reach peak maturity in 8 years, and cellar well for 18.

Gambero Rosso on Vie di Romans:

"Vie di Romans is a prestigious brand, a model company, and a real jewel on the region's viticultural scene. Gianfranco Gallo is the man behind this masterpiece, the result of exceptional qualities which result in a style based on precise viticultural strategies combined with meticulous vinification. The wines, above all the whites, display marked territorial expression and impressive structure. The vineyards all lie within the Friuli isonzo DOC zone, a few kilometres from the Bay of Trieste, where the continental climate meets that of the Mediterranean. The soils are on the plains, but enjoy an ideal microclimate and subsoils rich in minerals."

2015 Dessimis Pinot Grigio

Not yet reviewed. Displaying a gorgeous pale salmon colour, this Pinot Grigio is aromatic, fresh and very complex. Explodes with notes of pear, apple, ginger and spice. Highly appealing, tremendously versatile with food. Think grilled tuna and savoury pork dishes.

2008 Dessimis Pinot Grigio

92 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"The 2008 Pinot Grigio Dessimis is a huge departure from previous vintages. Talk about a wine that has completely been re-thought. For starters, the light pinkish hue is the result of a brief period of contact on the skins. Layers of sweet, perfumed fruit caress the palate as this silky, understated and totally classy Pinot Grigio opens up in the glass. The 2008 Dessimis shows exceptional balance and finesse, not to mention terrific personality. A final burst of red berries informs the long finish. Though delicious now, the Dessimis is an excellent choice for drinking as the weather warms up into the spring and summer. I loved it. Drinking window 2013+."