Extreme (Concentration, Balance, Rarity)
2009 Miani Friulano Filip
The Cult Producer of Italy's Friuli
"Enzo Pontoni crafts some of the most profound, monumental wines readers are likely to come across."
-Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
Yet it's also likely that many "readers" have never heard of Enzo Pontoni and his miraculous wines.
Little wonder. Enzo Pontoni is a bit of a recluse; until recently, the winery was little more than a garage with a few barrels - his mother lives above the small operation (see picture below, she's on the balcony). His vineyards are tucked away in one of Italy's most obscure and enigmatic regions, the Friuli. His output is miniscule; we're talking well under 800 cases spread between nine different cuvées.
Yet these are wines that offer up the qualities possessed by the world's greats: extreme concentration, a textured and lavish palate presence yet, and this is the real mystery, the magic, the wines are transparent with a fine mineral-imbued acidity and striking finesse.
These are dramatic wines. The most appropriate comparison must be the great whites of Coche-Dury. Both producers create wines of flamboyant richness, both are ruthlessly driven, powerful wines that somehow carry all their muscle and velvet with elegance.
Among a small cadre of Italian wine geeks, there has been much talk about the quality of Miani's 09 whites. Among the more recent vintages, the only rival is Miani's famous 06 collection. The 2009 Friulano Filip offers up a rich medley of stone fruits along with floral and herbal notes; the Fruilano grape is here in its most evocative and perfumed state. There is an ever-present and distinct minerality.
There is also deft use of oak here. Because of the density of the raw material (no doubt due to Ponzoni's low yields and rigorous selections), the oak feels intertwined in the wine itself, perfectly integrated, part of the cohesive whole. Overall, the impression is one of concentration, complexity and agility.
Miani's vines are in Friuli's Collio Orientali, an area that's thought to be Friuli's best subregion. Collio Orientali's slopes are famous for their Ponca soils, which are marl with limy marine deposits. The soils are credited with giving the region's wines their streak of bright elegance - an element that Miani is able to highlight better than most, providing a most extreme balance to the wine's coating and dense fruit.
Miani's vineyards reside in what's thought to be Collio Orientali's grand crus, the towns of Buttrio and Rosazzo. Here he tends his vines, which are often on terraced slopes and of formidable age, with absolute devotion. Pontoni is notorious for always being in the vineyards. Visitors who try to visit the winery almost never speak of seeing Enzo Pontoni, instead they speak about meeting his mother.
In the vineyards, Pontoni is notoriously fastidious about both tending his vines and about selecting only the best fruit to be brought back to the winery. In the winery, he's equally ruthless with barrel by barrel selection for what will be bottled and what will be sold off. With somewhere around 15 hectares, Miani should be able to make much more wine, yet every year, there are normally less than 100 cases of each wine available. Sometimes considerably less.
As the Coche reference above suggests, lovers of great white Burgundy should take a look here. Pontoni has no doubt crafted wines that deserve to be included with the best around.
It was not easy to acquire enough wine for this offer. Our quantities, however, are tiny (it just goes with the territory.) Please give us your maximum order and we'll do our best - all orders are subject to confirmation.
To order, please email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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