We know by now I’m a chatterbox. On social media, especially Instagram, I ask people – to annoyance – what their favourite wine is. Why do you think? Certainly not because I don’t have any inspiration for nice wines myself, but because there is nothing I like more than the discovery of a great wine. And many people know more than one. So when Pignolo was mentioned for the umpteenth time, and I just didn’t have the faintest idea, I started looking for this wine. Luckily that wasn’t difficult as Silletti – wholesale for Italian products – sent me two bottles of Pignolo – La Tunella.
Pignolo is a dark grape variety that grows in Friuli. Back in the days the monks turned it into high quality wines. Because it is a somewhat difficult grape to grow, Pignolo was at one point almost completely extinct. But fortunately today there is a trend to restore indigenous grape varieties and so happened with Pignolo.
Pignolo gives low yields and the grape naturally has a lot of color and tannin. It’s up to the winemaker to make something beautiful out of it and that often requires a long aging in oak. When grown artfully, the wine can be consumed for years.
La Tunella is located on the Slovenian border, in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The winery exists 50 years and was founded by Min Zorzettig. Nowadays it is in the hands of grandsons Massimo and Marco who continue the tradition.
Since 2002 the winery is called La Tunella. Philosophy has always been: to intervene as little as possible. In every bottle you will find the earth, sun, rain and wind, because the wine absorbs everything it is given. Sustainability is important for the winemakers, so that the next generation can fully enjoy what nature has to offer. Read everything on their website here.
Pignolo La Tunella 2013
For this review I tasted the Pignolo La Tunella 2013.
Grape: 100% Pignolo of marl and sandstone soils, known as “ponca”, typical for the hills of East Friuli. The grapes are harvested manually in the first week of October and placed in small boxes to dry. Then the grapes are destemmed and softly pressed. Fermentation takes place using indigenous yeast cells and the must remains on the skins for about 20 days. After this process the wine ripens for no less than 5 years on French tonneaux after which bottle maturation follows.
The wine was already open for a while when I stuck my nose into it. Beautiful ruby red with some copper tones. Very special! I smell fragrant forest soil mixed with spices like bay laurel, oriental herbs, tobacco and leather, balsamic vinegar and very dark fruit. Blackberries, blackcurrants, some plums. The first sip: very mouth filling, a “liquid dinner”. Full, warm, juicy dark fruit, balsamic vinegar, spicy acidity provides enough excitement. Beautiful integrated tannins, not at all heavy or dull. Vino da meditazione, but also great companion for a chunky piece of meet (or cheese). A very nice discovery. In my YouTube video down below I review the wine.
Read another Italian wine discovery here!