Eloquent Sauvignon "Sol" 2002: Ronco Del Gnemiz

Poetry comes in different versions from limericks to sonnets and even, lengthy epics. Thinking of Sauvignon Blanc in those terms, Serena Palazzolo’s Sauvignon “Sol” is an eloquent ode to the grape variety. In this video, she explains that she makes “Sol” as a riserva, only in the best years. It is at the top of the triangle she describes.

Serena’s vineyard is in the Colli Orientali (Eastern Hills) of the northern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. On the afternoon that I visited, the poetry of the place was cool and stark.
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On her website, Serena writes of her philosophy:
“I bend but I do not break. The earth becomes a friend when I treat it well. It gives me clear signs. We don’t like modern modes and tendencies. For years, we keep working to perfect our final results with tenacity and obstinacy [working with what Nature gives]. Maybe we are like our wines: austere but true.”

As we walked through the vineyards, she explained how difficult it is to grow grapes and make wine with organic methods: respect for the soil, the place, the vines, and the ultimate consumer of the wine. But her standards are her standards. She does not compromise. She won’t in large part because the earth here is extraordinary: alternating strata of clay and Eocene limestone soil that was once under the sea. Unique to the Colli Orientali, it gives the wines notable structure and minerality. Serena’s methods allow a true expression of this terroir.

We moved from the vineyards and the oncoming darkness into the bright, yellow warmth of the family kitchen. Serena’s three sons (the youngest, Jacopo pictured here) and her partner, Christian Patat, help her at Ronco Del Gnemiz.
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Serena harvests when her organic grapes are rich and well-ripened. The whites ferment in barriques, which gives them more structure, elegance and complexity. The Sauvignon “Sol”, Serena’s flagship has the capacity to age and become richer and more layered. Tasting the “Sol” (which means ‘floor’ or ‘soil’ in Italian) from 2002 was a poetic experience.

This is not the kind of easy drinking Sauvignon Blanc that you quaff without paying much attention. It is a deep and soulful wine that you sip slowly, allowing the full essence of it to touch you. After 12 years in the cellar, it was still very fresh and crisp, the trademark of the Colli Orientali. Then, each layer of richness was like a line of poetry: an eloquent ode written in golden ink.

I opened this bottle for a special lunch with friends on a cool, grey day by the sea.

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The wine sells for $35-50 but is hard to find in the United States.
Read more on the Database.

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