The term “icon” is often abused in the wine world, a designation too hastily assigned to any estate which receives the slightest acclaim. But when it comes to the wines of Miani, the label doesn’t quite do justice to the profound wines from the estate. Perhaps Miani’s inclusion in the wine-focused graphic novel series “Drops of God” delivers a more fitting tribute to these unique wines.
Reclusive winemaker Enzo Pontoni in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region is truly one of the greatest in Italy. Unfortunately, his fiercely uncompromising approach to quality in the vineyards and cellars ensures that there is never enough wine to go around, but we have secured excellent allocations of a wide range of his wines this year. In order to give as many people as possible a chance to experience these beautiful creations we decided to host an unprecedented tasting in the Chiswick store showcasing a wide range of Enzo’s wines. Bruno Besa, an expert on Enzo’s wines who has been working with him for almost 20 years joined us for this tasting. Despite having visited Enzo in his winery almost every year for the last 20 years, Bruno remarked that he had never tasted so many Miani wines from bottle at once. We were lucky to have Bruno on hand to share an unparalleled level of insight into what makes these wines so special.
The Miani wines are becoming more sought after every year, and it is very unlikely that the opportunity to put on this tasting will ever arise again. We have a precious few Miani wines still in stock at the time of this article, click here to browse them online, although they may not be there for long!
Below are details of what we tasted on the night:
Sauvignon Zitelle Alto 2015 & Sauvignon Zitelle Cava – these two expressions of Sauvignon Blanc are from a single vineyard (‘Le Zitelle’ means spinsters in English) that Enzo acquired in 2006 and completely replanted – his grandfather had made some of the original plantings here many years ago so this site has a special place in Enzo’s heart. The vines are just becoming old enough to produce wines that live up to Enzo’s high standards and these are the first releases of Sauvignon Blanc from here. The Cava Sauvignon is from a section of very poor soils that give an extra-concentrated wine show very dense, exotic flavours and deep minerality. The Alto is more aromatic and expressive at the moment with great purity.
Ribolla Gialla Pettarin 2016 & Friulano Filip 2016 – these individual vineyard expressions of the two greatest Friulian white grapes are named after the families that farmed them in years past. These two wines are the most sought after whites in the Miani stable. The Ribolla is delicate, fresh, and floral but with impressive density and texture. The Friulano is an incredibly intense wine, with masses of structure for a white wine: everything is here from acidity and richness of texture to extremely intense exotic fruit and minerality.
Chardonnay Palis 2015 – a new wine from the 2015 vintage onwards, this rich but mineral single vineyard Chardonnay is a future classic. Compared to many other Chardonnays this has a wonderfully ethereal, delicate character – there’s an almost playful feel to the wine. At the same time there is a hint of seriousness and the promise of future development.
Miani Rosso 2013 – a blend of Merlot and Refosco from a spectacular vintage, the Refosco comes from younger vines in a new, very exciting Refosco vineyard which will be bottled separately in future vintages when the vines are mature. This shows a lot of the richness, brightness, and concentration of the two single vineyard Merlots but with some beguiling herbal and earthy character coming from the Refosco. This is a slightly lighter weight red for Miani, but no less enticing because of it.
Merlot “Filip” 2013 & Merlot “Buri” 2013 – this was a fascinating chance to compare these two monumental Merlots from two different vineyards in the same, excellent vintage. Buri is from the village of Buttrio and is structured and complex, while Filip originates in Rosazzo and is rounder and more generous in youth. The Filip showed as the lighter of the two wines but this is more of a testament to the sheer monolithic power and intensity of the Buri. Both wines show incredible brightness of fruit – a quality that could almost be described as ‘aromatic’. There is a truly amazing level of ripeness to all aspects of these wines which never strays into over-ripe, stewed, or ‘Porty’ territory. No wonder Antonio Galloni described the Buri as ‘one of the most profound expressions of Merlot on the planet’.