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2016 Venezia Giulia Malvasia “Selezione”

Kante
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After being thrilled by the 1999 version of this wine out of magnum at Edi Kante’s table in Carso during my first visit to the azienda, I had to wait patiently for him to create another one. It wasn’t until years later that the stars aligned once more. Kante makes the Selezione only in exceptional years, and each vintage spends eight years in bottle before he deems it ready for show time. Made from Istrian Malvasia, Selezione has incredible acidity and salinity that defy its age and promise some fun at table over the coming years with wild crustaceans and mollusks. Gnocchi with lump crabmeat is my recommendation here, although a classic spaghetti alle vongole would work beautifully, too.

Dixon Brooke

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2016
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Malvasia
Appellation: Venezia Giulia
Country: Italy
Region: Friuli
Producer: Edi Kante
Winemaker: Edi Kante
Soil: Clay and Limestone
Farming: Sustainable
Alcohol: 12.5%

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About The Region

Friuli

map of Friuli

Friuli may be forever tied to its bland, acidic Pinot Grigios, which at one point saturated the export market, but a deeper look reveals a captivating array of unique grape-growing sites, distinctive indigenous varieties, and passionate small growers keen on preserving a rich tradition of winemaking.

Here in Italy’s northeast corner, the region is shared between the Julian Alps in the north and plains leading to the Adriatic Sea in the south, bound by the Veneto to the west and Slovenia to the east. While it is one of the wettest regions of Italy—and all of Europe, for that matter—Friuli benefits from the push-and-pull of cool air currents from the mountains meeting warmer breezes from the Adriatic. A crescent-shaped slice of foothills, where both play a role, tends to produce the region’s finest wines.

Nothing is more emblematic to Friulian wine than a crisp, peachy Ribolla Gialla served with thinly sliced prosciutto San Daniele, a local specialty. And yet, this only begins to tell the story: high-acid, mineral-driven whites from a number of local varieties including Tocai Friulano, Pinot Grigio, and Malvasia range from light and crisp to powerful and age-worthy, complementing Adriatic shellfish, hearty mountain cheeses, and everything in between. Native reds like Schioppettino, Terrano, and Refosco all have something unique to say, while there has even been significant success with French varieties like Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot, all long established in the region.

Friuli’s diversity is its strength, and it keeps us coming back for more. In fact, Kermit imported one of the region’s first organic growers toward the start of his career; our more recent collaboration with producers like Vignai da Duline is a testament to the enormous potential when devoted artisans put their hearts into Friuli’s fascinating terroir.

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Terroirs

Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.

Inspiring Thirst, page 312

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