Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
From the limestone plateau of the Carso in Friuli, Matej Skerlj makes some of our favourite wines in all of Italy. This Malvasia spent three weeks on the skins, followed by two years in old botti and is more subtle than previous vintages, with delicate notes of green citrus and flowers, just a hint of tannin and a beautiful, cleansing acidity that goes on and on. An elegant expression of a fantastic grape and terroir.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Matej Skerlj farms just two hectares of vines across a collection of tiny parcels hidden amongst the woods of the Carso. Just inland from the sparkling waters of the Adriatic on a rocky plateau some 250 metres above sea level, this is a remarkable terroir.
Vines are planted over a thin layer of red dirt rich in iron. In search of life, they push deep through the fossilised limestone below, resulting in wines with wonderful acidity and an often profound minerality. The plateau is cooled by a breeze from the sea and the bora, a wind that comes from mountains to the east. This is a unique microclimate, that in the right hands can produce wonderful wines.
Matej is young, humble and hardworking. He is inspired by this very special place and hopes to make wines that are true to it. His family has been growing grapes here for three generations and in 1965 opened up the doors of their home as an osmizza, selling their wine and the wonderful prosciutto they make from local pigs. The doors are still open today.
Matej’s work in the vines is excellent, he farms organically, by hand and with real integrity. This is a harsh terrain. Vines vary in age and are planted at a density of up to 10,000 per hectare, promoting competition between the plants and resulting in fruit that is complex, mineral and intense.
In the cantina Matej takes a considered approach, with gentle macerations and a long élevage in old wood before release. These are wines that can only be from the Carso, wines with a real sense of place.