Friulian white wine gems from Terre del Faet in the Collio -- it’s as simple as that. The Collio is essentially the borderland between Italy and Slovenia in northeastern Italy. To the North of the Collio sit the Julian Alps and to the South the tempering influences of the Adriatic Sea breezes make their presence felt.
If you know the wines of the Collio, you are probably already familiar with the name Edi Keber, the winemaker (along with his son Kristian) and ambassador extraordinaire from the Collio. We have Edi Keber (and Elena Orzan) to thank for turning us on to TdF. Last February, as I was sitting in the Enoteca di Cormons, in Cormons of course, chatting with the high priestess of the Collio, Elena Orzan, Edi walked in and asked not for a bottle of his wine, but for Terre del Faet Friulano. That spoke volumes. So did the wine when Edi was generous enough to share -- it was also incredibly cool to be talking about the wines of the Collio with the Edi Keber. Then again, if you want to rub elbows with the Collio glitterati (Keber, Raccaro, Picech, Branko, Ronchi Ro and now Andrea Drius the winemaker from Terra del Faet) all you need to do is hang at the Enoteca for a few.
The next afternoon I was in Terre del Faet’s cellar with Andrea and his “consultant” Kristian Keber. As if the wines weren’t validation enough. I tasted through Andrea’s line-up of 2013’s and without hesitating I told him we’d take all three of his wines -- Friulano, Malvasia and Pinot Bianco. He and Kristian looked at me apologetically and said, “we’re sold out of the 2013’s.” Andrea graciously agreed to send me 2014 samples when they went into bottle the next month. It was at that point I began to grovel. Surely you must have a few cases of the 2013s. But it was of little use. I left after a great visit thinking to myself, we were so close, right on the verge of landing that “under the radar” producer we work so hard to find -- but now we’d have to wait for the 2014’s. Later that evening, as I was once again sitting at my “desk” in my “office” at the Enoteca di Cormons, my email dings and it’s Andrea. He can help me out with some 2013s because he wants to build a relationship with Balanced Wine Selections. Jackpot! We’ll take everything you’ve got.
Andrea works his vineyards, located in the Faet and Pradis area of the Collio, by hand and the harvest is entirely manual. Great care is taken to get the grapes from vineyard to winery in small carts with minimal impact before they are gently pressed. The wines age on their lees (or remain in contact with its “fecce nobili” in Italian), enhancing the aromatic complexity and richness of the wines. Today he makes the three single varietal wines from Friulano, Malvasia Pinot Bianco all benefitting from the stratified marl and sandstone soil known as Ponca, which leaves its mineral and saline footprint in the taste and aroma in each of these wines.
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