The scenario is Friuli Venezia Giulia, a land which offers important wines. Here for almost fifty years Dorigo winery has focused on quality, fully aware that only a skilful, well balanced mix of tradition, history, and technology can allow getting great grapes, which will be then transformed into great wines.
We are in the lands of the ‘DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli’, where this winery was founded in 1966 by Girolamo Dorigo. The potential of the soils of Friuli is evident from the beginning, and with both hard work and passion which Dorigo has always had for its products, important results soon arrived. For some years, Dorigo has travelled to France in order to learn how to produce sparkling wine, by learning the techniques of winemaking and so succeeding in producing a sparkling wine with a classic Italian method.
The result is the ‘Dorigo Brut’, which with its aromas and hints of yeast and bread crust, its vine composed of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, bears witness to everything: it is entirely produced by hand, for a total of 12,000 bottles a year. From here it is possible to move the first steps for recovering the ancient ‘Pignolo’ vine, rediscovered by Dorigo, who believed in the potential of this variety. The selection is severe, the quantity of produced wine is limited, because only the best grapes are sent to fermentation, the obtained product is sublime: it is elegant and austere, with notes of spice and raspberries, tobacco, and red fruit with a substantial amount of tannin.
From here the first steps are moved for preparing red wine in a perfect Bordeaux style. The traditional cultivation and winemaking techniques reveal to be a smart choice for promoting quality, further refined and processed by the use of French oak barrels. Today this production includes such wines as ‘Chardonnay’, ‘Schiopettino’, ‘Pinot Grigio’, the quoted ‘Pignolo’, as well as ‘Ribolla’, ‘Refosco’, ‘Verduzzo’, one of the oldest dessert wines of Friuli, characterized by a golden yellow colour and an intense bouquet of acacia and peach honey, ‘Traminer’, ‘Cabernet Franc’ and ‘Merlot’.
And then ‘Sauvignon’ and ‘Piccolit Passito’, in addition to the prestigious ‘Montsclapade’ (‘broken mountain’, in the local dialect of Friuli, from the name of the cru where this wine was ‘invented’), aged in a wise mix of old and new barrels for 24 months and preserved six months after bottling in order to obtain the right balance between structure and softness of the tannins. This is a balanced, elegant wine, composed of 60% cabernet Sauvignon and 40% merlot grapes, with an intense ruby red colour and an enveloping scent of spice and red fruit, liquorice and cocoa. ‘Ronc di Juri’, then, is produced by the late harvest of Sauvignon blanc.
The idea of introducing a system of viticulture Guyot with a very high density, processed with special tractors inspired by French tradition, with vineyards of about 10,000 vines on an acre of land, has been an important innovation.
Experimentation and tradition
Alessio Dorigo, founder’s son and now manager of his company, introduces us into the world of Dorigo wines. This brand is synonymous with passion, research, commitment, continuous experimentation, innovation, and at the same time respect for the tradition of winemaking. «These results are recognized by the market, as well as by professionals who granted honours and awards to different types of our wines, from Risit d’Aur in 1979 to Golden Star 2013 for Blanc De Noir, and especially by final consumers, who reward us with their loyalty», Alessio tells with right pride.
Today, the production of these wines is of about 110,000 bottles a year, more than 60% of which are sold abroad, virtually anywhere in the world, with an increasingly important market share for classic method sparkling wine.
Many vines diversify this production and enrich it with taste facets: ‘Ronc di Juri’ distinguishes itself for its fineness and harmony of scents, structure and softness; ‘Piccolit’ for its delicious smell, crispness and creaminess; ‘Montsclapade’ for its complexity and refreshing acid structure. These wines are fine and elegant in the names of their lines, too:
‘Prestige’, which includes Chardonnay, aged in wood for 11 months, a very valuable wine, characterized by a long persistence and a spicy aftertaste, Ronc di Juri, Montsclapade, Pignolo, and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, wines enriched by a patient ageing in barrels, in order to enhance scents, flavours, and aroma of their grapes, grown and selected in accordance with an ancient philosophy of production, which enhances their terroir and offers wines characterized by an incredible potential for both refinement and evolution;
‘Color’ with Pinot Grigio, characterized by notes of tropical fruit and full and velvety flavour, Ribolla Gialla, with floral scents and hints of exotic fruit, good flavour and acidity, Sauvignon, Traminer, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Refosco, and Schiopettino: in these wines, care in cultivation, careful selection of grapes, experience and knowledge of vine, as well as right ageing in the cellar, offer an ideal combination of skills which tell about all the colours of Friuli;
‘Perlage’, with Brut Cuvee and Blanc de Noir, which are called sparkling wines, but are champagnes, thanks to their fermentation system, a secondary fermentation with Champenoise method and years of ageing ‘sur lie’ before offering them on the market, in order to create truly special sparkling wines.
These wines boast an ancient history which Dorigo continues to tell: «Nobody obliges us to drink wine. If we open a bottle, we do it in order to gratify ourselves, offer emotions to our friends, for the pleasure of discovering new aromas and new flavours. This is the message written inside our bottles. A message which communicates our love for a land and its fruits, the dedication offered by the men who work it, the emotions they feel in turning grapes into the noblest drink».