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In addition to their work as importers and distributors, Terlato Wines also partners with local growers in many parts of the world. Their goal is to produce premium examples of local grapes. In Italy, Friuli specifically, they have partnered with Marco Simonit and Pierpaolo Sirch.
Marco and Pierpaolo are regarded all over the world for their manual pruning techniques. Everything they do is keenly attuned to getting the most out of particular vines from a specific spot. Their understanding of sense of place — when it comes to the vines they work with — comes spilling out of their pores when you speak to them. I was lucky enough to do so over dinner one recent night and it was eye opening. Their goals and those of Terlato are simpatico: they want to produce great wines in the best spots for the grape in question.
Marco and Pierpaolo bring their unique, globally renowned, pruning expertise to the table. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with those who are passionate about their work; Count Marco and Pierpaolo in that number.
Over dinner they both railed against the banality of most pinot grigio, a feeling I share, and spoke fervently about terroir varietal correctness. These two brand new wines are distinct and delicious in their first vintage. They may become even more refined going forward, so drink up!
Terlato Wines 2014 Pinot Grigio, $22
This offering is composed entirely of pinot grigio. Fermentation and aging took place in stainless steel tank. It spent approximately 7 months on the yeast. 4,000 cases were produced in this, its premier vintage. The exuberant and layered nose is loaded with tons of fresh fruit aromas. Yellow melon is of particular note; bits of toasted almond are evident as well. Yellow and green apple flavors fill the substantial palate which is precise, deep, and quite profound. Minerals, lemon zest, and tiny bits of honey are in play on the lengthy finish. Goof weight, firm acid, and a lovely mouthfeel all come together in this terrific pinot grigio. It’s astounding how much bad pinot grigio is clogging up US Wine shelves. The best thing I can say about most pinot grigio’s that cross my desk is, “yes, that appears to be white wine.” That makes drinking this example from Terlato all the more enjoyable. Here’s a wonderful, well priced example loaded with both varietal typicity and sense of place. This is a remarkably good wine that I’d recommend buying multiple bottles of. It’s eminently enjoyable now but it’ll age well for a number of years, so fret not if you buy a case and don’t drink through it quickly. Then again, it’s so appealing, it could be gone fast.
Terlato Wines 2013 Friulano, $22
This wine is composed entirely of Friulano — some of the must underwent malolactic fermentation. It spends 12 months on the lees with regular stirring. Different lots are blended and bottled a year after harvest. It’s then aged for several months in bottle prior to release. 4,000 cases were produced. A stunning golden hue shimmers in the glass when you pour this wine. The nose is filled with heady aromas of Lychee fruit, apricot, Anjou pear and bits of toasted nut. The rich and dense palate is stuffed with characteristics such orchard fruit, yellow melon, peach, and apricot. The long finish is honeyed and stuffed with minerals and a creamy edge. This lovely example of Friulano will work equally well with soft cheeses as it will with a fruit tart, or Indian cuisine. Once you pick up the glass, it’s hard to put this wine down; you may want to chill a couple of bottles.
Marco and Pierpaolo mentioned that their goal in addition to making wines with a sense of place is for offerings that will age well. They used the analogy of Arabian horses versus typical everyday horses. With these two wines in their inaugural vintages, they’re well on their way to doing just that.
The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow The Daily Meal editorial staff member, Joanna Fantozzi.