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With their newest release, I Clivi’s ornate and vivid wines continue to push the boundaries of Friuli Colli Orientali away from the “Italian white” genre, thrusting itself into an arena shared by Sancerre, Chablis and the Mosel.

I Clivi’s 2016’s are magnetic. Hitting a golden chord of fleshy textured fruit, marked aromatics and satiating round stones, both wines carry a pristinely preserved, striking portrait of varietal and place. Complicating matters is that both go down so damn smoothly you risk losing the lasting picture they provide: the small intrinsically layered details of dried herb, freshly broken earth and the exquisite tension between citrus (waxy and fresh) and stone. If you harbor any doubt of Friuli Colli Orientali not capable of the same the mystical grandeur of other more established white wine regions, here are your bottles.

2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano San Pietro

Tim’s note: 70 year old vines. White gummy, flowers, peach skin layered on top of a lush body brightened by the perfect amount of acidity. Feminine and damn pretty. Dried herbs. Smooth, exceptionally long clean finish. Excellent.


2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Ribolla Gialla

Tim’s note: 30 year old vines on pure limestone. This is the most slender and taut of the triumvirate of white varietals - straw, honeysuckle, almond and pear dance on the tightrope of laser-like acidity and minerality.


2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Verduzzo

Tim’s note: Stone fruits, more exotic, a touch denser and more bitter, the fruit feels tightly wrapped with flowers. The body reminds us of Alsace. Verduzzo is typically vinified sweet, but I Clivi’s rendition is uniquely dry. Grilled veggies galore.


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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.

2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano San Pietro

Tim’s note: 70 year old vines. White gummy, flowers, peach skin layered on top of a lush body brightened by the perfect amount of acidity. Feminine and damn pretty. Dried herbs. Smooth, exceptionally long clean finish. Excellent.


2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Ribolla Gialla

Tim’s note: 30 year old vines on pure limestone. This is the most slender and taut of the triumvirate of white varietals - straw, honeysuckle, almond and pear dance on the tightrope of laser-like acidity and minerality.


2016 I Clivi Colli Orientali del Friuli Verduzzo

Tim’s note: Stone fruits, more exotic, a touch denser and more bitter, the fruit feels tightly wrapped with flowers. The body reminds us of Alsace. Verduzzo is typically vinified sweet, but I Clivi’s rendition is uniquely dry. Grilled veggies galore.