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Ronco del Gelso (Friuli)

Friuli D. O. C. of Isonzo (northeast Italy) is on the up, with an influx of young, ambitious growers fresh from viticulture college determined to exploit the quality potential of their vineyards.  One such grower is Giorgio Badin.  At his family estate Ronco del Gelso (which translates ‘Hill of the Mulberry tree’). He’s steadily building a reputation for his wines, and as this tasting demonstrated, it’s a reputation that is richly deserved.

The vineyards occupy some 15 ha near Cormons on the right bank of the Isonzo river. The vineyard area continues to expand as finances allow, and in 2001 a new winery was built. Within Isonzo the area around Giorgio’s vineyards is recognized as a special one, and from 2002 it has its own micro-DOC, Gesimis.

The climate here is ideal for quality grape growing with cold air from Central Europe meeting warm Adriatic winds, creating temperature variations favouring a slow even ripening. The soil is also ideal, with deep calcareous beds of well-drained gravel known locally as ‘ponka’.

Giorgio Badin is a specialist in white wine production. Making wines obviously differing from other wines in the region he employs all advantages of his vineyards — sunny sides of the Cormons, proximity to the Adriatic coastline. Giorgio uses hyper oxygenation to obtain saturated long-living wines with his grapes.  A new cellar has been built in the estate.  It has strikingly functional design and equipped with the use of state-of-the-art technologies.