Limited Editions – The Quest for Evolution
RODARO ROMAIN REDS – FROM NATURALLY AIR-DRIED GRAPES
In the calm of the Cellar, our award winning evolutionary ROMAIN reds pass a slow succession of lazy days in the finest French oak barrels, unaware of the winds that gently swirl through Friuli’s eastern hills, unmoved by the frenetic rhythm of life in the world outside.
Only in certain years, with carefully selected, dry grapes, is it possible to vinify according to the Rodaro ROMAIN method.
Here we’re talking about Limited Edition wines. Ideally we seek a late harvest, when the grapes are picked by hand and deposited in small 2kg trays, with bunches laid side by side in a single layer. The trays, also known as plateaux, are then brought to our fruttaio (fruit store) where the natural process of air drying and additional ripening of the bunches begins. As time goes by, the grapes begin to delicately dehydrate and little by little, the astringent tannins will mature and soften. The goal is to vinify the grapes to obtain a dry wine with significant potential for ageing over time. Extreme attention during these early stages is critical. Laboratory analysis is repeated regularly to ensure we avoid the presence of residual sugars that would render the wine ‘sweetish’.
Depending on each grape variety, the process can take from two to six weeks.
Paolo himself carries out daily checks to confirm the precise moment when the vinification in steel tanks can begin. Once fermentation is complete the wines are transferred to French oak barriques, where they will rest deep in the cellar for between 18 – 36 months. Bottle ageing follows to ensure each ROMAIN red attains the desired touch of elegance. These unforgettable wines are all 100% monovarietal.
They are created from the native varieties – Schioppettino, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Pignolo. But also with two International varieties – Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
L’EVOLUTO – LIMITED EDITION SUR LIE
The evolution of wines is a topic close to Paolo’s heart. Here in the Colli Orientali, all of our hillside vineyards possess their own unique micro-climate. Together with their prized soil composition, called “ponca”, they allow us to create wines whose signature minerality, crisp acidity, persistence and longevity are truly noteworthy. With each passing year, Paolo has grown to recognize that his white wines, those traditionally vinified in steel, also demonstrate an exceptional ageing potential. But the question was how to maximize the evolutionary expression? How to “go beyond traditional winemaking”?
Years of experimentation have passed between the vineyard and the cellar. And thanks to our ongoing research we have been able to create a wine that truly amazes us. For Paolo, it was the unique character of certain international varieties that provided him with the starting point. Only in the best vintages, through careful selection of the grapes, is it possible to produce the L’EVOLUTO label. In 2010 our Sauvignon, hand-harvested, gently pressed and vinified in steel, was then allowed to remain in steel. For the next 40 months on its lees (Sur Lie), the subject of regular batonnage, Paolo sought to draw out the wine’s as yet undiscovered potential. A new distinctive aromatic profile was developing with an abundance of tropical fruits enriched by minerals and exotic spice. Convinced by the wines incredible freshness and persistence, Paolo finally decided to bottle the first Sauvignon L’Evoluto 2011 in 2015.
Needless to say, research in the winery is ongoing …
Today the power of this Limited Edition Sauvignon is incredible. L’Evoluto 2012 was bottled in 2017 (52 months on the lees) … would you like to taste it ?
THE SWEET NATIVE PASSITO – LIMITED EDITION DESSERT WINES
Paolo Rodaro’s quest for Quality involves continual experimentation in the Vineyard and Cellar. From timing the harvest to the use of different techniques during vinifications to the choices between using wooden barrels and steel. The possibilities seem endless.
For our Picolit, in the most fortunate vintages, we’ve found it best to wait for the Botrytis Nobile (Noble Rot) to strike in the vineyard before we commence the late harvest. Known for its incredibly sparse bunches, Picolit will then be picked and allowed to raisin for 3 months before we vinify in steel. Of course every vintage is different and no surprise the research continues.
Our Picolit is a precious meditation wine.
In centuries past it was the wine of Popes and Princes. Today, Fortnum & Mason of London, official supplier to the British Royal family, has partnered with Rodaro to be the sole supplier of Picolit to its famous Piccadilly store. We are honoured. The Rodaro family has distinguished itself for having helped to preserve the Picolit grape in Friuli, through the discovery of an ancient vineyard of 21 Picolit vines. From those few vines we have been able to cultivate the two treasured hectares of Picolit that we farm today.
The secret of air-drying grapes is also expressed in our equally renowned and famous Pra Zenar, a dessert wine produced from the native Verduzzo Friulano variety. Much appreciated for its intense interpretation of this native vine, Pra Zenar is a complex wine, sweet yet never cloying, its full body gifting us aromatic intensity, harmony and depth, together with a sublime tannic signature which is typical of this variety.