Ronco Severo: Balancing on the Edge

Stefano Novello prefers balancing on the back of a chair to sitting down on the seat. In this video, he explains that his philosophy for making wine is the same as his philosophy for life: put yourself in play…run the risk of falling…if you want to do something truly distinctive and interesting.
(For subtitles in English, click CC in the bottom right corner of the video.)

His 8 hectare vineyard is in the Colli Orientali (Eastern Hills) of the far northern region of Friuli Venezia. To the left (NE) is Slovenia and to the right (SW), down the River Judrio, is the Adriatic. The hills formed around 35-55 million years ago, when land that was at the bottom of the sea was pushed up toward the Julian Alps. The soil is called “ponca” or “flysch” and is a highly unusual combination of clay and limestone with layers of crumbly sandstone that gives a crisp mineral flavor to the wines.

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Stefano’s Ronco Severo Pinot Grigio IGT (14%) doesn’t look like any Pinot Grigio you’ve ever seen before because he leaves the must to ferment slowly on the skins with only native yeasts. This process adds color, tannins and acidity in the wine. We tasted 2007 and 2011: two very different years. The 2007 seemed “tight and deep” while the 2011 was “wide and warm”.
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His Ronco Severo Ribolla Gialla 2011 IGT (13%) 2011 is “still too young” he says. “The minerality will come out with time.” The Ribolla Gialla grape is native to Friuli Venezia Giulia and the “ponca” soil brings out the best in the grape.
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