Puiatti, located in Friuli, in Italy's far northeastern corner, has been in existence for 50 years. While the winery has evolved over time, things have really taken steps forward since it was purchased by the 150-year-old Bertani, a leading producer in the neighboring Veneto. Bertani is famous above all for its amarone, a rich, high-alcohol red, but Puiatti makes only whites. Their focus is on authentic, vineyard-driven, single-variety wines, farmed with organic and biodynamic methods (they're currently working on certifications for both).
Puiatti utilizes a combination of native and commercial yeasts, picks at optimal ripeness to suit the variety, and doesn’t use any oak at all. Their focus is on doing everything possible to make sure that the end results in the bottle express the essence of their meticulously tended vineyards.
On a recent visit to Friuli, I was able to tour the winery and parts of the vineyard. A classroom-style tasting of their current releases and a couple of library selections with both of the estate's winemakers followed, and was a real highlight. The entire visit was an eye-opener. Taken as a piece, the wines are fresh, elegant, acid-rich, and complex. Every one did an excellent job of representing its specific place of origin and grape variety. The wines are also tremendous values. In addition to being well-made and delicious, they are eminently age-worthy, something not particularly common in their price tier.
Here’s a look at my favorites from the tasting:
Puiatti “FUN” Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($20)
Honeydew melon, citrus, rosemary, and thyme are all evident on the nose. The even-keeled palate shows off gooseberry, chives, and wisps of ginger. The finish is crisp, clean, and refreshing. This is an interesting expression of sauvignon blanc with a unique flavor profile.
Puiatti “LUS” Ribolla Gialla 2016 ($20)
The fresh and lively nose shows off white peach and gooseberry notes. Granny Smith apple, minerals, and bits of sage are evident on the palate. Ginger, lemon zest, and a hint of honey are each present on the above-average finish. In addition to the innate freshness and purity here, what’s impressive is the wonderful texture and mouth-feel.
Puiatti “SAL” Pinot Grigio 2016 ($20)
Quince, yellow apple, and gentle spice aromas abound. Peach and apricot flavors dominate the palate. Hints of sage and thyme emerge on the finish along with white pepper and dried stone fruit. The mouthfeel here is richer and weightier than with many examples of pinot grigio. Too often, mass-market examples of the wine are, at best, anonymous. Here’s an example full of heart, soul, and character.
Puiatti “VUJ” Friulano 2016 ($20)
Big, welcoming aromas of yellow peach are underscored by herbs such as thyme and sage. Chamomile tea, stone fruit, and toasted almond notes are at play on the palate. Minerals and spice dominate the long, mellifluous finish.