Borgo del Tiglio, Cormons, Friuli
From his cellars in Brazzano di Cormons, close to the Slovenian border, Nicola weaves his magic, and if the wines reflect the winemaker, then trained pharmacist Nicola’s meticulous attention to detail certainly shines through — the tiny eight hectares of vineyard at Borgo del Tiglio are planted according to microclimate and the incredibly complex soils in these hills, so cooler inland sites Rutars and Ca’ della Vallade are planted with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, while the vineyards around the cellar at Brazzano, directly overlooking the warm Adriatic, are planted with Malvasia, Friulano, Merlot and, formerly, Cabernet Sauvignon. Vineyard management is of the highest standard with yields down to 30-40 hl per hectare, and up to 5 passages through the vines at harvest time. Nearly all the wines evolve in small, specially commissioned oak barrels (so that the volume of the fermenting tanks is exactly divisible by the barrel size, each wood type matched to the variety) for nine months, which adds depth and an ability to age. This is, without doubt, one of the world’s finest wine estates.
Wines are due to arrive into our bond towards the end of June
10% Discount on 2 cases or more, may be mixed
2017 Friulano – £210
Formally known as Tocai, this is a grape that all too often disappoints, but Nicola has taken a sow’s ear and made a silk purse. From 40 yo vines with low yields, this Friulano has a real touch of class. A hint of gunsmoke on the fresh pear and mandarin fruit; beautifully light blossom notes and delicate salinity on the finish. This really is a wine made for food, and a wide range of foods at that — it goes particularly well with salty or bitter flavours, such as olives, radicchio or braised endive, but is also fabulous with white fish, raw or rare-cooked red meat, or cured ham, and is sublime with oysters.
A nice choice for a buttery lobster, the Borgo del Tiglio 2017 Collio Friulano (white label) is a terrific wine that offers an authentic sense of place and draws a precise portrait of this versatile, indigenous grape. There’s so much transparency here, you can almost smell the compacted sandstone characteristic of Friuli’s Ponca soils and the soft breezes that bring salinity and wild aromas along from the Adriatic. The biggest asset of this wine is its startling freshness and liveness. Citrus, pear and quince are delivered over a mid-weight, creamy mouthfeel. About 5,000 bottles were made. Rating 93 Drink Date 2021 – 2025 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 11th Feb 2021 Source February 2021 Week 2, The Wine Advocate
2017 Sauvignon Selezione – £330
Legend has it that this grape was brought to the area from France in the early 1800s as part of the dowry of a French noblewoman who married a local gentleman. Since then, the grape has adapted and changed and, although still recognisably Sauvignon, both the physical grape and the style of the wine now differ from those of its original home in the Loire. This spent some time in barrel, adding greater depth and texture. It is softer and riper than classic Loire wines; soft white-fleshed fruits, peach on the nose, a touch mineral, flint. In the mouth, it is complex and enticing. Salty, mineral acidity balances the lovely, ripe stone fruit flavours; it is completely dry yet beautifully ripe and peachy.
A serious wine, quite delicious and long-lived, it will pair with seafood, lobster, crab, also with tomato-based dishes, and a must for fans of pecorino cheese.
Reserve your finest flakey-fish recipe for the Borgo del Tiglio 2017 Collio Sauvignon Selezione (green label), a textbook rendition of the fragrant grape, dressed in a way that is specific to Friuli. Compared to Sauvignon Blanc from, say, New Zealand, this region tends to produce softer expressions that are void of any pungent greenness. In fact, the bouquet here is floral and delicate with white rose, orchard fruit, quince and soft lemon. There is also a very distinctive mineral note of crushed seashells in this release of 1,200 bottles that immediately transports you to northeast Italy. Hats off. Rating 94 Drink Date 2021 – 2026 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 11th Feb 2021 Source February 2021 Week 2, The Wine Advocate
2016 Chardonnay Selezione – £330
A fabulous Chardonnay, such quality. The nose is all ripe peach, exotic fruit and hints of white flowers, which follow through onto the palate, beautifully balanced with good acidity and integrated oak. This nods towards fine white burgundy but with a more exotic nature. Fab. Fish, roast chicken, any excuse…
A release of only 2,000 bottles, the green-labeled 2017 Collio Chardonnay Selezione is another special wine from Borgo del Tiglio that presents extreme varietal purity backed by a light, lively and lifted bouquet. The wine’s aromas are gathered on one side with fresh apricot and nectarine and on the other with creamy almond paste, preserved lemon and poached pear. The warmth of the vintage has contributed to some extra textural richness, making for a happy sidekick to an appetizer of escargot. Rating 93 Drink Date 2021 – 2028 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 11th Feb 2021 Source February 2021 Week 2, The Wine Advocate
2014 Collio Rosso – £155
In those years when Centa can’t be made, Nicola has blended the Merlot with a little Cabernet (although he ripped up the last of the Cabernet vines in 2017, so we shall have to wait and see what he does next). This is a delicious, high-toned red with fragrant black cherry fruit on the nose, spice, pepper, whole red berry. In the mouth it has layers of spice, ripe red fruits, fine tannins and bright acidity. Very nice, terrific value and extremely moreish. Very flexible in terms of food.
2011 Rosso della Centa – £570
Rare as common sense. The soils here are more suited to Merlot than Cabernet and Nicola’s old-vine Merlot is one of Italy’s great red wines yet flies a little under the radar, possibly because it doesn’t mention the word ‘Tuscany’ and is only made, on average, one year in three, as the grape ripens late here and in average years the quality of the fruit just isn’t good enough (the bar is set very high) for Centa. Fermented in open wood, aged for two years in barrel then 18 months in bottle, it differs from its Tuscan cousins in that it is a more structured, savoury and elegant style of Merlot. Rich yet highly evolved: hints of red pepper, cinnamon–clove spice, wild strawberry and cherry compote, and gentle vanilla, with herbal and tobacco notes. It has a definite cooler, ‘Right Bank’ feel, but is distinctly Friuli in its savoury nature. Fabulous.
This special wine is released once every three years or so. The 2012, 2013 and 2014 vintages were not produced, and at the time of my visit to the estate last year, the jury was still out regarding possible production of 2015 and 2016. But the 2011 Collio Rosso della Centa (a pure expression of Merlot) is in the market now, and it is beautiful, fresh and bright. Both sample bottles I tasted showed beautiful intensity with some mild herbal definition, licorice and wild berry. This is a delicate work of elegance, both streamlined and silky. The exciting cherry-berry intensity you get on first nose is dazzling, but the wine reveals many more layers of spice and mineral to follow. The grapes are fermented in open-top oak casks, and the wine is aged in French barrique for four years. A mere 1,200 bottles were produced.” “Rating 94 Drink Date 2019 – 2030 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 8th Aug 2019 Source August 2019 Week 2, The Wine Advocate