RONCO dei TASSI

RONCO dei TASSI

Friuli

Our philosophy is to create wines that reflect the territory, bringing that territory into the bottle itself.  We work to make elegant, perfumed wines that are drinkable.  I like the idea that the bottle gets finished; after one glass, you want to have a second, perhaps a third, because the wine is so clean, pure, enjoyable,” says Matteo Coser of the Ronco dei Tassi winery in the Cormòns (Collio) area of Friuli.

Located in north-eastern Italy on the Slovenian border, the Friuli winemaking region is renowned for being home to some of Italy’s most avant-garde winemakers, but Ronco dei Tassi stands out from the crowd with its firm commitment to tradition, producing complex, while elegant wines that speak of terroir, history and the particular land from which they come. 

 

 

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.

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Wines

Pinot Grigio Collio DOC

Only the best fruit is used for this single-variety bottling. This is an excellent, fruit-driven expression of Pinot Grigio. Fresh pear and ripe apple on the nose give way to rich flavors of kumquat, quince and fresh herbs in the mouth are supported by a nice acidity, making this an excellent wine to pair with a variety of foods.

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Sauvignon Blanc Collio DOC

A particularly versatile white wine, this Sauvignon is the result of the particular characteristics of its terroir of origin, the Friuli hills adjacent to the Plessiva Natural Park. Straw yellow in color, intense fruit and floral aromas of grapefruit, elderberry flowers and freshly cut grass lead the way. A full-bodied mouth with a brisk acidity supports notes of citrus (tangerine, grapefruit) and an appealing minerality.

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Friulano Collio DOC

Friulano (the locals still call it Tocai despite the 2007 ruling to ban the use of “Tocai” on the label) is the Fruili region’s most important grape. This white wine is intense and fruity on the nose with elegant perfumes of acacia flowers. In the mouth, it is fleshy and rich with a creamy texture and distinct varietal notes of citrus, pear, liquorice and almond and the classic minerality of the Collio.

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Ribolla Gialla Collio DOC

The Ronco dei Tassi Ribolla Gialla is a fruity and elegant wine, a stellar example of the powerful and complex white wines produced in the Cormòns area of Fruili, with a freshness that lends balance and precision. The utmost attention and care is given to the grapes during each step of the production process, from the vineyard to the bottle, resulting in an impeccable wine that is rich in aromas and flavors and is truly representative of Cormòns. On the nose, a bouquet of lime flowers and dried cedar makes way for a rich, yet taut and agile, infusion of acacia, yellow plums and white tea on the palate. A long finish with notes of quince and toasted almonds charms right up to the end.

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Fosarin Bianco Collio DOC

Fosarin, from six-acre vineyard of the same name, is a blend of roughly equal parts Pinot Bianco and Friulano with 20% Malvasia Istriana. Pinot Bianco undergoes fermentation and a brief aging in used barriques, providing backbone and finesse to the wine. Friulano and Malvasia are vinified only in stainless steel, Friulano delivering mid-palate weight and richness while Malvasia endows the Fosarin with the exotic aromatics (think anise, peach and yogurt) that really drive the wine. Fresh and fruity when young, the blend becomes ample and spicy with age, displaying a rich palate, depth and texture classic of Friuli wines. The Fosarin encompasses all the finest characteristics of the territory from which it comes: a perfectly calibrated wine, impeccable balance between elegance and power, and a satisfyingly sapid and fruity ending. This is Friuli in a glass.

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Malvasia Collio DOC

Though there are many types of Malvasia grapes grown throughout Italy, Malvasia Istriana (the name coming from the peninsula of Istria located in the Adriatic Sea) is undoubtedly considered the varietal of excellence when it comes to dry white wines. The grapes for this Malvasia come from 60 year-old vines planted in a miniscule terraced vineyard (less than 4 acres) with optimal southern exposure. Indeed, this is a wine of great equilibrium whose vinification and aging exclusively in stainless steel allow all the typical characteristics and aromas of the variety to come alive. On the nose, classic distinctive notes of peach and apricot blend with aromas of ripe pear, tangerine zest and floral notes of lime, acacia and wild flowers to close with a hint of aromatic herbs and light mineral underpinnings. A bright, round palate lifts the savory finish.

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Cjarandon Rosso Riserva Collio DOC

The only red wine produced by Ronco dei Tassi, the Cjarandon Riserva is released exclusively in favorable vintages for Collio reds. The wine takes its name from the vineyard where the grapes for this “Super Friulian” are grown, and this predominantly Merlot (with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) blend is aged for two years in Allier oak barrels plus an additional year in bottle, giving its intense ruby red color subtle garnet reflections as well. The nose is generous, intense and persistent with notes of dark fruit, black pepper and graphite. On the palate, the Cjarandon is bright and juicy, round, full and intense with a fine dusting of tannins and a beautifully long finish.

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