La Bellanotte of Friuli Isonzo: Current Releases

La Bellanotte has a lengthy, illustrious history, but its modern winemaking dates only from 2000 when Paolo Benassi, son of the owner, Giuliana Guadagni, assumed management of the estate. Located in Farra d’Isonzo, it currently has 8 hectares of vines and a total production of about 50 thousand bottles. Andrea di Maio, a graduate of the University of Pisa’s enology program, is the winemaker with experience making wine at Isole I Olena, Valgiano, Guada al Tasso and elsewhere. They produce three different lines of wines, but the premium line, reviewed here, includes Conte Lucio Pinot Grigio, the Luna de Ronchi Sauvignon & Friulano blend, the Roja de Isonzo Merlot, and the Vento dell’Est Picolit.

US Importer:  Singular Selections

La Bellanotte 2016 Luna de Ronchi Bianco Friuli Isonzo ($15) 89 The Luna de Ronchi blends the bright acidity of Sauvignon with the rich flavors of Friulano. The result is a delicious, balanced wine densely flavored of white peach and chamomile with a beeswax note. Finishes long and clean. Outstanding value. La Bellanotte 2012 Roja del Sonzo Merlot Friuli Isonzo ($20) 88 The Roja del Sonzo Merlot is lively and vibrant with a flavorful attack of plum, blueberry and huckleberry that persists through the finish. Fresh and easy drinking with high acidity, think of this wine as an alternative to Barbera d’Alba. Perfect for grilled meats and veggies. La Bellanotte 2011 Conte Lucio Pinot Grigio Ramato Venezia Giulia IGT 90  Copper orange. Aromas of red berries, dried hay, and baking spice. The palate is savory with dried fruit, saline and oak notes and relatively high acidity. Interesting but needs food to show its best. Sourced from 60+ year old vines in Farra d’Isonzo. Macerated on the skins for three days before fermentation and matured 50/50 in stainless steel and oak barriques, 1/3 new.  La Bellanotte 2014 Bianco Dolce Vento dell’Est Picolit Venezia Giulia IGT ($50) 92  Redolent of orange marmalade, dried apricots, and roasted nuts, this is a seductively lush and opulent sweet wine with excellent acidity.  One of the best Picolit sweet wines we’ve tasted. Made of 100% Picolit dried on reed mats for three months, then manually destemmed, softly pressed, fermented in 120 L botti, and matured in oak barrels. Annual production is just 500 bottles.

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