The winery is guided by Fabio Coser, who purchased the estate in 1989 with his his wife, Daniela, as an investment for the family and their two sons. At the time, the property comprised about 22 acres, 10 of which were already planted to vine, in the heart of the Collio Goriziano in the township of Cormòns. The strong territorial bond with the area is evident in the name of the winery itself: “ronco” is the word in Friulian dialect to describe the region’s typical hillside, terraced vineyards, while “tassi” refers to the resident badgers who often pay visit to the vineyards during to enjoy the harvest’s juiciest grapes.
Accompanying their father (winery head and principal winemaker), sons Matteo and Enrico have joined the family business, Enrico managing the commercial efforts and Matteo overseeing the vineyards. The estate has grown to over 75 acres, 45 of which are planted to vines. Matteo says, “Over time we’ve slowly expanded, purchasing and renting additional vineyards, but we’ve always been careful to stay within certain limits. As a small family winery, we follow the production of each wine ourselves, from the vineyard to the tank to the barrel to the bottle. To be able to produce excellent wines without giving up something of the unique character of this territory, our hands-on involvement is essential.”
The estate’s vines are planted on hillsides at altitudes ranging from 400-600 feet a.s.l., using the laborious terracing method (ronchi) to expose plants and grapes to the maximum amount of sunlight and ensure optimal drainage. Though undeniably more difficult to work, it is at these altitudes that the most complex and characteristic soil composition is found, notably clay and ponca, the local name of layered marl and sandstone that imparts an important salinity and mineral edge to the wines along with a remarkable longevity. A notable difference in day and nighttime temperatures also adds to this complexity and depth of aromas.
“The particular location of our vineyards allows us to make wines that reflect the special characteristics of this territory. Our vineyards are planted on terraced hillsides, at relatively high altitudes, and are mostly old vines, up to 70-80 years old. Over the years, parts of the vineyards have been restored, replacing old vines with new where necessary, but it is from these older plants that we can extract the best, most distinctive and historically unique part of the territory,” explains Matteo Coser of Ronco dei Tassi.
As evidence of the Coser’s profound connection to their territory, outside of the vineyards, the remainder of the estate’s property has been left as woodland, considered essential to maintaining the delicate balance between cultivation and forest, allowing sustainable agricultural practices to be implemented most effectively. The estate is ideally positioned at the boundary of the Plessiva Natural Park, an oasis protected by the Friuli region, and as such provides a safe haven and ideal habitat for local flora and fauna in which to flourish. The family firmly believes in the value of protecting this little corner of paradise, a guarantee to help ensure the future of this splendid territory and its wines.
Ronco dei Tassi’s vineyard philosophy is simple and straightforward: pay the utmost attention to how the land is cultivated and how the vineyards are managed. This entails carrying out rigorous and frequent inspections, qualitative (visual) as well as quantitative (analytical). Discussing the winery’s vineyard philosophy, Matteo explains, “Exceptional quality fruit is fundamental to making an excellent final product. And to produce the best fruit, you can’t exceed a given production per vine. We leave six or seven bunches on each plant and meticulously follow all of the work in the vineyards from start to finish. Low yields in the vineyard translate to increased quality and a wine that is enjoyable all around.”
Such attention and rigor ensures that only the best and healthiest fruit is used to produce the simplest and most authentic wines possible, wines that fully express the character of the different varieties, indigenous and international, and unique, historic particularity of the Friuli territory.