Dario Prinčič’s winery is located near the Oslavia Ossuary (built in 1938 to house the remains of 57,000 soldiers who died in the First World War), just outside the city of Gorizia, in the easternmost part of the Friulian Collio, on the border with Slovenia. We are in a borderland that, after having experienced the suffering of bloody fighting and devastation, remained abandoned until the reconstruction of the 1950s. The wine-making activity, which resumed in that period, did not want and, sometimes, could not even take over the traditional pre-war systems, driven by the market, to the conversion to a more modern, technological and international approach.
At the end of the 1980s, this was the setting for a small but inspired group of winegrowers who aimed to recover the traditions of their ancestors. Among them was Dario Prinčič who, since 1988, began to cultivate his 7 hectares southeast facing vineyards, with high density plants (about 8,000 vines per hectare) on land composed of the traditional Ponca (a mixture of marl and Pliocene sandstone of oceanic origin). The approach was, and remained, archaic-natural looking, with spontaneous grassing, the absence of weed control and chemical fertilizers, the use of natural pesticides such as copper and sulphur, and with almost exclusively manual interventions, also because of the strong slope of the vineyards.
A red wine of great interest to this winery is Merlot, a wine that is born in a small dedicated vineyard (half hectare), 35 years of age, at 1340 meters above sea level, from which no more than 1700 bottles are obtained per year. After the manual harvest, with a first selection in the plant and a second in the cellar, the grapes are left to ferment spontaneously by means of indigenous yeasts, without temperature control. To the subsequent maceration, of about 10 days on the skins, follows the long aging (7 years) in large cask and, then, the bottling, with a total sulfur dioxide between 12 and 15 milligrams per liter.
The 2007 vintage has a ruby color with a dark amber ring, sign of an oxidation as light as characteristic, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of cooked plum, bitter orange, black olive and vinyl, followed by sour cherry jam, aromatic herbs, humus and hibiscus, with concluding echoes of blond tobacco and graphite. The mouth highlights the oxidized component, which gives great freshness and acidity, followed by, progressively, sapidity and roundness, just necessary to not unbalance the sip; all enriched by the return of red fruit and vinyl that persist even after the good length closure.
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