Italy is better known for its world class reds but a few producers really stand out for great whites in Italy and possibly at the top of that list is Miani in the Friuli region.
Enzo Pontoni’s white (and red) wines have become absolute cult wines owing to a remarkable depth of flavour and concentrated texture, though they are never heavy or unbalanced. In the Colli Orientali DOC, Miani sits on a hilly slice of the Udine province near Italy’s border with Slovenia. On a total of 13 hectares (4 are family owned), they cultivate Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Malvasia, and Friulano, as well as, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. The vineyards are situated at an altitude from 100 to 300 meters above sea level, and the vine density is kept relatively low at 3000 plants per hectare. In the winter the vines are mercilessly pruned and the drastic green harvest leaves one or two bunches per vine. It is clear that revenue and profitability have never entered this winemaker’s agenda, while the manicured vineyards show intense passion for viticulture. Enzo took over the family winemaking business after his father had passed away. Leaving his engineering career in order to dedicate himself fully to his new passion. At almost 7 feet tall, Enzo has a commanding presence and does not compromise when it comes to making wine: each year he only produces 9000 bottles, and all according to rigorous organic farming methods. He ages many of his wines in French oak barriques, and does not interfere with the natural temperature of fermentation.
My favourite wine from Miani was a tremendous 2008 Sauvignon Saurint but I’ve had so few disappointments from this producer that I’m happy to drink just about anything they produce.