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Two Pinot Grigio Wines from Attems

I attended a wine conference in Virginia a few years ago. A panel of winemakers were discussing the grapes that do well in Virginia. When the name Pinot Grigio was introduced, each of the panel’s four winemakers said that Virginia Pinot Grigio wines are boring. We received two bottles of Pinot Grigio from Attems a winery in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of north-east Italy. These Pinot Grigios were not boring.

081214aThe 2013 Pinot Grigio, Venezia Giulia IGT was a light yellow translucent color. The 12.5% alcohol wine has a suggested retail price of $19.00. The wine was aged in a combination of stainless steel as well as new and used oak barrels. Aromas and tastes reminded me of grapefruit, lemon and mineral. The body was light and the wine had a crisp finish. The wine makes a good aperitif or paired with poultry. This wine was in a green bottle.

The Attems 2012 Pinot Grigio Ramato was in a clear bottle to showcase its light gold with an orange tint color. This Pinot Grigio was also at 12.5% alcohol and has a suggested retail price of $19.00. The deeper color of the Ramato version of the Pinot Grigio is derived by extended skin contact. The winemaker had an extended maceration of 12 hours. During this time the juice picked up color from the Pinot Grigio skins. The wine was aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak barrels. The aroma and taste featured strawberry, yellow stone fruit and citrus. The light-bodied wine was dry and there was no hint of tannins even though the wine had some skin contact.

081214bBoth of these Pinot Grigios were not boring. I especially liked the Ramato, in part because I am searching for white wines that have had some skin contact. My experience is that these wines are more complex and have more to offer the wine enthusiasts as well as being more food friendly. It would be interesting for Attems to craft a Pinot Grigio that has skin contact through fermentation. Currently, Kathy and I are preparing a small qvevri for burial. We plan to make a white wine in qvevri this fall. The wine will have skin contact for six months.

About Attems

The winery estate consists of 79 hectares (195 acres.) The winery has 40 hectares of vines that include Ribolla Gialla, Friuliano, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Merlot and Picolit.

It is interesting to note that while the number of hours of sunlight are talked about by wine growers, not many mention refraction. For Attems refraction is important. According to the Attems website, the vineyards are near to the sea about 15 kilometers from the Adriatic. “The refraction of sunlight off the Gulf of Trieste gives the Collio an intense light. This generous luminosity ensures optimal ripening of the fruit.“

While many wineries face difficulties due to their proximity to large expanses of water, Attems’ vineyards do not have that problem as they have good airflow, which keeps the humidity low.

Terry & Kathy

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