After our long first night, getting to our various accomodations (mine was the lovely Terra & Vini), we were off on our first day of adventures to Lis Neris Winery. Located in San Lorenzo, Lis Neris is in a unique terroir where the bora winds come rushing in from Slovenia through the gap in the mountains. In fact, if you reach out, you can almost touch the current boarder. Again, at the crossroads of culture and long disputed lands, the histoyr in these vineyards is long and varies.
Gorizia, the town just to the east of San Lorenzo, is the firs Italian town on the Isonzo river, which slowly winds out of Slovenia is Gorizia. This is, quite probably, one of Europe’s most disputed boarder towns, with the river having a large impact on these disputes as a highwa and source of livlihood.
Here, since 1879, Lis Neris has supported four generations of family members to create the classic wine estates that exist today. In 1981, production was turned on it’s head, when a new, and innovative approach was taken to winemaking.
In general, Friuli is most well known for white wine (more on that later), and Lis Neris wanted to showcase the terroir that made this happen. The winemaker, Alvaro, highlighted the relationship between the land and human, where the knowledge and respect for the environment allows him and his team to express that terroir most effectively. in a modern, gravity flow winery, lets the team intervene less and encourage the natural process of winemaking more.
And now for the wines!
2011 Pinot Grigio – 2011 was an exceptionally hot year in Friuli. This yielding fresh pear, spice, lemon lime, limestone, tons of minerality, and a fresh and brigth wine. Here, the soil is mostly gravel, bordered by chalk, which releases a lot of minerality in to the white wines. This wine had a heavy citrus note, with a bright floral backsplash.
2010 Pinot Grigio “Gris” – Here, Gris also means cricket. Since there are a lot of them around, it’s completely appropriate! This wine had a frequent battonage, and was on the lees for 11 months. As a result, it is a richer, more rounded, wine. In contrast to 2011, 2010 was a wet, rainy summer. It was a velvety riound wine, with a lot of structure and power, with necterines and pink grapefruit. This is not the classic flavor profile for Lis Neris and it was an intereesting departure.
2007 Gris – 2007 yielded the earliest harvest Friuli has had in memorable history; the 20th of August is early by most books, and with heat in the high 90s to 100 degrees, the wine changed drastically. Tropical fruit, and guavas are rich and thick, but with bright acid and meyer lemon to taper it out. It;s still a bit of a bruiser, with oak crawling out of the glass, and is an awkward teenaage.
The final wine, Confini (Confines) is a late harvest, which in Friuli means about 15-20 days after normal harvest. In this case it was mid-September, and represents a blend that is a bit of a rebel in these parts. Pinot Grigio, Gewurtraminer, and Riesling, are all blended to gether to create a tropical masterpiece that was fascinating.
Lis Neris is a great first stop for any visit tot he region and a great overview of the region!
Visits to all Friuli area wineries were provided by Vino e Sapori, our lovely tour guides!