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Brandolini Pinot Grigio 2010

Pinot Gris/Grigio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
    12.8% ABV
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    12.8% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Brandolini Pinot Grigio is medium-bodied and well structured, with rich, concentrated flavors of black currant and wild berries set against a backdrop of silky tannins. A powerful yet elegant wine.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Conte Brandolini

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    Conte Brandolini, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
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    Count Brandino Brandolini's true passion is revealed in his role as owner and winemaker at his family's historic Vistorta estate in northeast Italy's Friuli region, just 25 miles north of Venice. This down-to-earth, Venetian-born graduate of Texas A&M and the University of Bordeaux took the helm at Vistorta in the 1980s. Influenced by his experience in Bordeaux and recognizing the outstanding potential of his family's estate vineyards (planted with Merlot for over a century), Brandolini set out to produce a world-class red wine from Vistorta.

    Working with his close friend and colleague Georges Pauli, winemaker at Chateau Gruaud-Larose and consultant to a number of leading Bordeaux properties, Brandolini implemented a series of radical improvements at the estate. Using select Merlot clones from Bordeaux alongside his existing Merlot vines, Brandolini implemented a system of high-density planting in Vistorta's well-drained, limestone-rich vineyards. Here, protective mountain ranges to the north and west combine with the moderating influence of the Adriatic Sea to create a superb microclimate for the cultivation of outstanding Merlot grapes. Now, 20 years later, Vistorta enjoys a reputation as one of northeast Italy's most sought-after red wines.

    Friuli-Venezia Giulia

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    The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The styles of wines produced in this region of Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. The flat valley of Friuli Grave is responsible for a large proportion of the region’s wine production, particularly the approachable Pinot grigio and the popular Prosecco. The best vineyard locations are often on hillsides, as in Colli Orientali del Friuli or Collio. In general, Friuli boasts an ideal climate for viticulture, with warm sunny days and chilly nights, which allow grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.

    In Colli Orientali, the specialty is crisp, flavorful white wine made from indigenous varieities like Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Ribolla gialla and Malvasia Istriana.

    Red wines, though far less common here, can be quite good, especially when made from the deeply colored, rustic Refosco variety. In Collio Goriziano, which abutts Slovenia, many of the same varieties are planted. International varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are also common, but they tend to be Loire-like in style with herbaceous character and mellow tannins. Carso’s star grape is the red Teranno, notable for being rich in iron content and historically consumed for health purposes. It has an earthy, meaty profile and is often confused with the distinct variety Refosco.

    Pinot Gris/Grigio

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    Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris wine. California produces both styles with success.

    In the Glass

    Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.

    Perfect Pairings

    The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot Gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.

    Sommelier Secret

    Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed to fully ripen, the Pinot grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.

    SOU162945_2010 Item# 113684