Collio and Brda
This land is an important cru for vine-growing thanks to a unique terroir which gives character to any wines that are made on it, whatever their style, colour or grape varieties.
Sometimes borders mark lines that are meaningful just on a map but lose all meaning once you find yourself within the territory. This is the case of the Collio/Brda, on the border between Italy and Slovenia. There are no rivers or high mountains that separate the two countries here. However, that border has been the border par excellence until a few decades ago, that divided not only Italy from Slovenia but especially the western countries from the Soviet Bloc. Nowadays, the track of the border got dissipate inside the European Union but the tragic past is still alive in the memories of this land.
Fifty million years ago, a vast ocean floor and coral reef were progressively filled with silt and clay before being pushed up from under the water as the Alps began to be formed. They became limestone mountains that were gradually worn down into the hills we now see. In parts they were filled in with marine sediments, and with hard sands (Arenaria) and softer silt (Marna). That’s why this soil breaks up and crumbles with heat and rain. This layering of different soil types is called “flysh” and it’s the secret ingredient behind our wines”. Indeed the minerality that this complex soil structure gives is the Collio/Brda’s defining factor. Some areas have red, acidic soils; in others, the soil - also known as Ponca - is heavily alkaline. It doesn’t react well to rain: on slopes its top mud so thick that no tractor can enter the vineyard.
THE GRAPE VARIETIES
I give you the winery, you can plant sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot grigio… as long as the most beautiful piece of the vineyard is planted with Ribolla Gialla.
Edoardo Radikon to his son
Even though any grape variety can be skin-fermented to produce orange wine, a good acidity is crucial, especially if grapes are macerated for many weeks or months.
The three main native grapes for orange wine from Collio/Brda are Ribolla Gialla/Rebula , Malvasia/Malvazija and Tocai Friulano/Jakot. Alongside these grapes, it is popular to find Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Chardonnay made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the juice.
Ribolla Gialla is the finest Collio/Brda grape. Its thousand-year history is indeed tied to this region, where it fully expresses its potential. Ribolla Gialla expresses freshness and terroir, it’s dry in taste with an excellent balance between acidity and tannins if macerated.