Marco & Sandra Sara, with their two boys Pietro & Tobias, are young Friulano producers whose family and 7 hectares of vines and 4 hectares of woods are located just north of Udine in the commune of Povoletto on the western of the Colli Orientali del Friuli – a pre-Alps range of hills that separate Friuli from Slovenia. Here, at between 75 – 300 msl, the flysch marne (‘ponca’) and sandstone slopes favour Marco Sara’s white and red indigenous grape varieties Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Picolit, Verduzzo, Schioppettino, Refosco, along with some Cabernet Franc, imbuing the wines with a lower pH, & a spine.
Marco took over the reins of his family cantina in 2000, making the switch from selling off in bulk to bottling the fruit himself. In 2005 the estate became organic; it was also the year when he first bottled sweet wines Picolit and Verduzzo. He makes small quantities of hand-made wine, using organic fruit and wild yeast. These are authentic fine wines that speak of an indigenous grape, that respect and reflect local tradition and territory.
Increasingly Marco & Sandra have recognised that three varieties perform best on their unique ponca/flysch, hilly terreno: Friulano, Schioppettino & Picolit!
> Certified organic.
2017 Friulano – tasted Marzo’18, just bottled (12th!), 13%, very conveniently Marco & Sandra’s Friulano crop ripened & was harvest before the mid-September rains. Whole bunch pressed into s/steel, fermented at c. 22 degrees Celsius using wild yeasts, & then left on its fine lees in cement until bottling. Marco added that a third of the wine underwent unintentional malolactic. Picking slightly earlier has given this a low pH freshness & cleansing purity. It’s very fine, trim & fruity with white peach & musky notes. Also in MAGs. Prod. 6.5k bts
2016 Friulano – c.6k bts, to be bottled aprile ’17, whole bunch s/s wild yeast fermented from fruit of 5 plots around their comune of Povoletto, then transferred to cement. Sooo fine, soft lemon pith, calc white flowers, pure lime/white stone fruit; great tension, soft, fleshy, sale minerale, citronelle
2015 Friulano – sweet lime, juicy, piu grasso, slightly lower acidity, perhaps less zip than in 2016, but still delicious!
2013 Friulano – watery pure, so fine, trim with minty, cornflower, ginger & shellfish freshness, & a racy streak; silky, sapid Caol’Ila saltiness, very tight, energetic, white currant fruit…eccellente!
2012 Friulano – a difficult act coming after the fantastic 2013…but 2012 pulls it off! Distinct gold, it’s a richer, burroso/buttery, frutta candida nose, of ginger root & biscotti; more yellow plum to taste, fuller than the racy 2013, it retains that muschio/musky fragrance, soft light, white pear & virgin olive oil feel!
2016 Ribolla Gialla – from tank, c.6k bts, slightly darker in hue compared to the Friulano, more verbena, marjoram notes, skeletral, sinewy, low in alc…fashionable! From bottle: 12.5%, discreet, white flower, (Langhe!) pear tree flower, skeletal, Muller-Thurgau esque even!
2016 Verduzzo secco – from tank, c.1.5k bts produced, also from around Povoletto among the foothills of the Dolomites, from 40 yo vines, TA 6.5, mandarin skin zest!, sense the thickness, the skin, profondo, tannini, to age in bottle…
2016 Schioppettino – tasted 2017 from barrique, brilliant, exuberant kirsch/glacier cranberry nose, along with Dolomite mt herbs, delicate smoky, refined, Pinot esque, very exciting…retasted from bottle, Marzo’18, a leap of lampone, redcurrant, ribes, Pinot-esque intensity & purity; affinamento in 50/50 botte/barrique in 2016 has given this wine more edge & precision! It remains smooth, but energetic. A great leap forward from 2015. Bottled with 50mg SO2 total, & 25mg libera. Bravo Marco e Sandra! Prod. 4k bts.
2015 Schioppettino – 20 days on the skins, aged in barriques for 12 mths, exotic raspberry essence, rose cream, incredible, such purity & thrill; the palate’s cool, violet scented, fragrant, finely judged, taut yet carino, silky fine tannins, endless joy & pleasure wow!
2013 Schioppettino – recalling vintage 2016: still with a tight red gleaming pernice eye core, only barriques in those days, but has retained a refreshing nervousness, & Pinot crunch. I get the feeling the ponca/flysch soils are providing the spine!
2012 Schioppettino – as with the Friulano, 2012 was a richer, more indulgent vintage, giving raspberry gelato (barrique) fruit; notably more grasso than the 2013, sumptuous & sultry even! Yet that gleaming cassis core remains bright. Ole!
2016 Refosco – from a botte grande of 20HL, blackberry essence, Crozes Hermitage in its starkness & medicinal qualities, hedgerows, noticeably more tannic than Schioppetino (if easier to spell), denser, more masculine/brawny
2015 Picolit – bottled Dec ’16, thrilling Seville orange skin nose, apricots, so zesty, alive, appassimento for 3 mths then s/s fermented, then aged in 25HL botte, 120 grams RS, yet still taut & energetico, fantastico!