The Ronco del Gelso winery is widely considered to be one of the leading estates in Friuli today. It produces traditional-style wines that have been embraced by Italian purists and modernists alike.
The winery is located in the Isonzo DOC, where pebbly, alluvial soils are ideal for producing minerality-driven white wines with immense character (see image below).
Image via the Ronco del Gelso website.
We recently opened a bottle of the Ronco del Gelso Toc Bas, made from 100 percent Friulano grapes (click here for the English fact sheet on the winery website).
The wine, which sees no malolactic fermentation, was bright and fresh in the glass, with zinging acidity, classic stone fruit and grassy notes (typical of the aromatic Friulano), and a rich minerality that some would call the winery’s signature.
It paired brilliantly with a pan-seared filet of Atlantic halibut. But would have married equally well with crudo, shellfish, sushi (a favorite pairing for this wine), or white meat dishes.
One of the things that sets the wines of Ronco del Gelso apart is the wines’ wonderful freshness and food-friendliness. It’s no wonder that the winery’s labels are favorites among leading sommeliers and Italophile wine directors at the nation’s top restaurants.
Even in an entry-tier wine like this, the winemaker at Ronco del Gelso reveals an extremely deft hand in delivery superbly elegant wine at a great price point.
A note on Friulano…
Until the late 1990s, Friulano was called Tocai Friulano in Italy.
The name had to be changed because the European Commission had ruled that the grape name represented a trademark infringement of the Hungarian Tokaj.
Although the wine can still be labeled as Tocai Friulano when sold exclusively in Italy, it cannot be called Tocai when shipped beyond Italy’s borders.
Friulano, like Sauvignon Blanc and Savagnin, is an aromatic white grape and is ideal for the classic seafood dishes of its native Friuli, where the Alps and the Adriatic Sea meet.