We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: with each release, I Clivi pushes the boundaries of Friuli Colli Orientali away from the “Italian white” genre, thrusting itself into an arena shared by Sancerre, Chablis and the Mosel. These are magnetic wines, beloved for their unique character and sincere expression of terroir. It doesn’t hurt that they are stellar deals too.
Today we have five new superb releases from the estate, ranging from the 2016 vintage (one of the greatest from the estate) to the easily lovable 2017 and opulent 2018. As with all great producers, each vintage shows it’s character in unique ways. The 2016’s with the vivid minerality, the 2017 with its concentration and energy and 2018 for its drama and force. We couldn’t be happier with these wines, and urge you to experience some of the Northern Italy’s most genuine, soulful whites.
2018 I Clivi Ribolla Gialla
From the importer: “A very pure must or "vino fiore" is what allows this Ribolla Gialla to explore and convey its inherent qualities so accurately. It sees a minimum of six-twelve months on the fine lees with weekly batonnage in the cellar, producing a sharply-etched, bone-dry wine with great acidity, textured mouthfeel, and lemon blossom flavor profile.”
2018 I Clivi Friulano
From the importer: “This varietal wine is based on the "native" Tocai Friulano grape and elevated on the fine lees for a minimum of six-twelve months. The result is an extremely dry, clean, mineral-driven wine that shows pleasantly restrained aromas and flavors of stone fruit, acacia, and wildflower honey. This vintage has a fine bouquet and mouth-feel while maintaining the freshness and acidity for which i Clivi's whites are much appreciated.”
2016 I Clivi Collio Bianco Brazan
From the importer: “Similar to earlier releases of Brazan, this wine received Ferdinando Zanusso's usual care in the cellar, remaining on the fine lees for up to two years with frequent batonnage. He notes that it is the purity of the must that results from i Clivi's meticulously gentle pressing of whole clusters that make his wines so good, in addition to the quality of the fine lees. Expect an opulent palate that shows the Brazan vineyard's characteristic stone fruit, spices, and minerals.”
2016 I Clivi Galea
From the importer: “Whole-cluster-pressed at Champagne levels to obtain only the purest must or "vino fiore," Galea Bianco undergoes no skin contact and remains on the fine lees in stainless steel for a minimum of one and a half years. It's difficult to find a more precise snapshot of Friulano and represents one of Northern Italy's finest whites. It is an intellectual wine that is redolent of ripe peaches, apricots, acacia blossoms, and honeysuckle.”
2017 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Verduzzo
From the importer: “Native to Colli Orientali, this varietal wine is unique in that it is vinified dry, unlike many found in the region. Because of the varietal’s thicker skin, this wine shows some structure (even without maceration) in addition to luscious mouth-feel, intriguing quince/floral aromas, and elegant fruit. A truly STUNNING vintage and brilliant wine!”
More About the Wine
The wines of I Clivi are produced in Friuli between the Collio Goriziano and the eastern hills of Udine, named Colli Orientali. On these sunny slopes – clivi meaning “slopes” – Ferdinando Zanusso and his son Mario cultivate 12 hectares of organic vineyards planted with indigenous varieties Ribolla, Friulano, Verduzzo and Malvasia.
There are three things that make I Clivi so special. First is the massive number of old vines they own and the small yields those old vines produce. Secondly, these wines are pressed with champagne level pressure (ie. extremely light) which results in unusually soft, vibrant wines. Combine that with the old vines and you are getting really special textures that are stunning. Thirdly, you have Ponca. What’s that? It’s Friuli Colli Orientali’s secrete sauce, a hyper-unique soft calcium rich marl soil found only here in this appellation. Combine that with Clivi’s old vines reaching down seventy-five feet deep into the soil to suck up this unique minerality and the results speak for themselves.