2015 Kante Venezia Giulia Terrano

$32

“Terrano is a variety with centuries of history on the Karst plateau in Italy and Slovenia, mentioned as far back as the fourteenth century, when vini terrani was offered to one Conte di Lozo, an ambassador of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Medium-bodied and intensely aromatic, this wine provides an abundance of red berries and lip-smacking acidity—hallmarks of table-ready reds from cooler climes.” – Dustin Soiseth

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Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

In Italy’s Northeast corner is the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Depending if the vineyards are located more north near the Alps versus south near the Adriatic Sea, the climate can vary from moderate-continental (within the Alps) to warm (near the sea). Here, Pinot Grigio takes precedence, although many other grape varieties are planted as well. Pinot Grigio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia tends to be more rich, with a medium-full body and juicy tropical flavors. Other grapes to note are Merlot, the most widely-planted black variety, and the native white grape, Friulano. Wines from this region can be labelled Friuli Grave DOC (within the plain) and Collio DOC or Colli Orientali DOC (within the hills).

The Carso district of southeastern Friuli, just outside of Trieste, is a unique micro-climate sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea to the south, the Alps to the north, the low hills of Collio to the west, and the Balkan peninsula to the east. The temperatures are cool at night and the grey limestone is everywhere and in abundance. In this near-perfect combination of climate and terreno, Edi Kante produces wines that are poised, solid, fresh, and brimming with the character of both the chosen grape and the stark limestone soil of Carso. The Kante style is born not only of his incredibly energetic, passionate, mad-scientist like personality, but also of the inherent characteristics of Carso and his deliberate decision to allow these characteristics to shine through rather than be dominated by wine-making technique.

Kante was born a contadino in this rugged area of northeastern Italy, at the crossroads of Italian, Slovenian, and Croatian culture today and historically at the crossroads of the Venetian and Austro-Hungarian cultures. Taking over from his father, Edi began to bottle the family estate’s wines separately by varietal in the late 1980s. After experimenting with various styles, including being a pioneer of the orange wine movement, he settled on the direction he has followed for almost two decades: making pure, consistent wines that reflect their region, stand the test of time, and above all, provide a lot of pleasure at table. Kante ages his white wines for a year in older barrels, then six months or more in stainless steel on the lees, then bottles them unfiltered. All takes place in an incredible three-story cellar carved out of solid stone beneath his house. The ability of his wines to age and improve consistently is uncommon for Italian white wine, and he always has plenty of older magnums on hand to prove this point. Kante’s limited red wine production is mostly focused on Terrano, a local Friulian grape related to Refosco that he ages in large older casks, and Pinot Nero only in select years when conditions are truly favorable. Kante is also dedicated to sparkling wine production in the Champagne Method or Metodo Classico, and has been refining this skill for several decades. He produces a spumante bianco based on Chardonnay and Malvasia, and a rosato from Pinot Nero, both with zero dosage. The most exciting part of Kante’s production are his selezione wines. Released in small quantities from select vintages, these are small lots that Kante has selected in the cellar and aged extensively in bottle before release. They typically have between 8 and 10 years of age upon release and can be drunk upon release or aged further.

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