made from Pinot Noir and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso; 13% ABV
Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC, (northeastern) Italy
$9 at the Oakland, CA, store on 19 Nov
I quite liked the only previous bottle of Refosco I’ve had, so I was quite drawn to this even though I had trouble imagining how it could be complemented by Pinot Noir. In that previous review, I noted that (from Wikipedia), “The wines this grape yields can be quite powerful and tannic” but “in the attempt of making the wine more approachable to an international palate, recent versions have taken well to new oak and cold fermentation.” My interpretation of this blend is that it is an attempt to make a more accessible Refosco.
Out of the bottle, the wine pours an inky, dark plum color. I thought it needed two hours of air in a decanter to start opening up, and was fully open after three. The nose is pleasant but not strong. On the palate, I tasted dark plum, purple cherry / black raspberry, earthy black olive, acid of above and some red raspberry, in a medium body. The flavors of Refosco dominate, but the Pinot delineates and brightens those flavors with lighter-bodied fruit and lighter-flavored acid. It’s an interesting wine, but somehow it doesn’t really strike me as all that complex or delicious. If you’re curious about or a big fan of Refosco, I’ll definitely recommend it, but I suspect most folks would be unexcited by it. However, please further thoughts on this below.
The next day, the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle of this wine still needed about an hour of air to fully open. Compared to the previous night, it is smoother, better integrated, and a little more complex. It showed black plum (if there’s such a thing) or blackberry that’s very ripe but not sweet at all, the same earthy black olive, perhaps even tar or asphalt, a little prune, but underlying and mostly hidden is what is probably the Pinot: earthy red cherry, perhaps a little orange, and tangy acid of cherry and raspberry.
For me, at least, this wine, like the other Refosco, required an adjustment in tasting attitude. I sort of expect a wine to “show me what it’s got” when I taste it. But with that approach, these Refoscos were initially rather “absent;” there seemed to be not much to them. However, if I relaxed a little and instead patiently delved into them, there were actually quite satisfying wines waiting for me. So, overall, I’ll give this wine a cautious Thumbs Up. I enjoyed the experience, but I won’t be rushing to get more. I would be more enthusiastic about it at $6 or $7. If I run into it again, I’ll get another bottle to see what it’s like in a month or two. And of course I’d be very interested to hear what anyone else thought about it.
Please note! When I first published this, I wrote that I got it at the Richmond store. It was at the Oakland store.