Limited Editions – The Quest for Evolution
THE ROMAIN RED GRAPES: FROM NATURALLY SEMI-DRIED GRAPES
The Romain Red Wines rest in large French oak botti, caressed by the winds that waft over the Colli Orientali del Friuli and by the gradual succession of slow-paced days, unaware of the frantic pace in the outside world.
Only in certain years, with dry, healthy and selected grapes, is it possible to utilise the Romain Rodaro method to process the grapes, hence we are speaking here about Limited Editions. Whenever possible, we harvest the grapes late in the season, picking the clusters by hand and placing them on small 2kg-trays. These trays are then transferred to fruttaio, or drying loft, so that the clusters can undergo the natural process of semi-drying. As the days pass, the berries dehydrate and their astringent, immature tannins gradually soften. The objective is to vinify the grapes in such a way as to obtain a dry wine with great potential to age over time, never a wine of over-facile approachability, but one whose sensory qualities will faithfully express those of its parent grape variety. Painstaking attention is focused on these first steps in the processes. Multiple laboratory analyses are performed to ensure that there is no trace of sugar, which would render the wine sweetish. The clusters rest in the fruttaio from two weeks to up to a six weeks, depending on the grape variety. What is decisive is the sensory examination of the berries that Paolo Rodaro performs day after day, and that finally signals that they are ready for fermentation in steel; the process is successful only if the fermentation yields a superb wine. The wines then go to French oak barrels, where they mature from one and a half to over three years, followed by ageing in the bottle, in order to impart true elegance to the Romain wines. Unforgettable monovarietals. Native varieties: Schioppettino, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Pignolo International varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.
EVOLUTO WINES: LIMITED EDITIONS SUR LIE
The evolution capability of wines is a subject of great interest to Paolo.
The hills of the Colli Orientali boast distinctive ponca soils and their own climate, which give the wines here their classic minerality, lovely acidity, length, and longevity over many years, when compared to those in other areas of the plains. Even the white wines, which Rodaro produces in steel, in accord with local tradition, exhibit a fascinating capacity to evolve. But how is it possible to achieve the highest evolution potential in the white wines of the Colli Orientali? How can one go a step beyond the traditional vinification? Years of experimentation in vineyard and winemaking have taken place. Only many years of research have been able to furnish one of the possible expressions of the white wines of our hills. Paolo found that the obligatory starting point for producing an intriguing wine with truly unique qualities and a surprising crispness was use of the international varieties. Only in a few very fine growing seasons, and through a rigorous quality-selection of the grapes, is it possible to produce an Evoluto wine. Hillslope-grown Sauvignon Blanc is picked by hand and gently pressed, then the must is fermented in steel and remains 40 days on the fine lees, its spent yeast cells (sur lie). Regular bâttonage keeps the yeast in suspension, in order to increase the wine’s reduction potential. In this fashion, varietal aromas are replaced by distinctive aromatic nuances specific to the tertiary stage of an evolved wine, ranging from minerality to spice. The crispness and length are incredible in the Sauvignon Evoluto 2011 bottled in 2015. Paolo’s winemaking research continues… today we present the Sauvignon L’Evoluto 2012 bottled in the 2017 (52 months on its yeast)… Do you want to taste it?
THE SWEET NATIVES: LIMITED EDITION PASSITOS
Paolo Rodaro has travelled down the pathway of high quality, always experimenting with different degrees of natural drying of the grapes, and different vinifications, both in steel and in barrel.
That path seems today to indicate that in the most favourable seasons, it is best to wait for the development of Botrytis cinerea before a late harvest, and then to dry the loose clusters of Picolit on trays and ferment the must in steel. Fortunately, every year is different, and the research continues. Picolit makes a wonderful vino da meditazione, a wine for meditative sipping, prized by Popes and Princes. Fortnum & Manson, in London, official supplier to the English Royal Court, selected Rodaro Paolo as one of its partners, the official supplier of Picolit to its Piccadilly shop. We are honoured. The Rodaro family stands out for having contributed to preserving the Picolit grape in Friuli. In the early 1900s, it discovered 21 old, un-grafted Picolit vines, the origin of today’s 2-hectare vineyard. The secret qualities of appassimento (the natural drying of grapes) are embodied as well in the celebrated Pra Zenar, a Verduzzo Friulano that is dried both on the vine and on trays; this wine is much appreciated for its superb interpretation of this native grape. Full-bodied and hearty, it is marked by a sweetness that is never cloying and the slight tannin classic to the grape variety.