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WINEMAKER SPOTLIGHT: FABRIZIO IULI

WINEMAKER SPOTLIGHT: FABRIZIO IULI

WAINSCOTT MAIN WINE & SPIRITS
WAINSCOTT MAIN WINE & SPIRITS
FABRIZIO IULI OF 
MONTALDO DI CERRINA, ITALY
🇮🇹
Iuli is located in the far north of the Monferrato, in the town of Montaldo di Cerrina. Once a vibrant little town of 450+ souls, today there are only 92. It is set among the last band of dramatic hills and valleys before descending into the rich flatlands of the Po river valley, with the Alps as a backdrop on a clear day. If you're headed to Montaldo, chances are it is to see Fabrizio Iuli. His family figures prominently and colorfully in the town's history. 
Today, Fabrizio is the only winegrower in the town. His first commerical vintage was 1998, with his Barbera called Rossore. The grapes found in his vineyards are Baratuciat (a nearly-extinct white variety from the Val di Susa), Slarina (a red Monferrato variety also almost lost), Grignolino, Nebbiolo, Pinot Nero, and, of course, Barbera. 
Certified organic, the land has never seen any chemicals. Despite being ridiculed by neighbors, Fabrizio's grandfather and father never succumbed to pressure to buy products they felt were meant to fix something that wasn't broken. The isolation of the place suits Fabrizio's desire to instigate and protect biodiversity. The thick surrounding woods keep the prospect of a monoculture at bay with white truffles and wild boar.
The wines are Piedmontese to the core, ultra-reflective of the poor, but limestone-rich soils and northernly climate with cool nights. Each wine has a reason for being; each wine has extreme drinkability without losing seriousness or intrigue. They are concentrated in their fruit, but also have a lightness and florality that feel very "Iuli."
 In the cellar, Iuli's trajectory over the years has become increasingly non-interventionist. Fermentations are carried out spontaneously, with a little so2 added after malolactic fermentations, unfined and unfiltered. 
Iuli Umberta Barbera 2019
Iuli Umberta Barbera 2019 $24.00
Umberta is 100% Barbera and the so-called "entry-level" wine at Iuli. Coming from south-facing vineyards planted between 1940 and 1999, it is typically harvested the first week of October. Vinified in concrete with 20 days of maceration. Aged in concrete for 10-11 months, with an additional three months of bottle aging. 28,000 bottles made.
Iuli Natalin Vino Rosso 2018
Iuli Natalin Vino Rosso 2018 $27.00
Natalin is made with 100% Grignolino. Natalin was also Fabrizio's grandfather's nickname and Grignolino was the wine he loved the most. This wine comes from a few different vineyards, planted in 1970, 1990, and 2016 with east, west, and north expsoures. Fermentation in concrete vats with 12 days of maceration; aged until the Spring in concrete. 10,000 bottles made. 
Iuli La Rina Vino Rosso Slarina 2019
Iuli La Rina Vino Rosso Slarina 2019 $30.00
La Rina is 100% Slarina, another indigenous Piedmontese variety that had nearly disappeared. Fabrizio is a believer in this grape and he planted nearly a hectare and half of it in 2013. With such a large surface area (for Slarina), he jokes, "I am the most important producer of Slarina in the world." Vinified in concrete with 10 days of maceration on the skins and aged in concrete til the Spring. 5,500 bottles produced. 
Iuli Barat Vino Bianco Baratuciat 2018
Iuli Barat Vino Bianco Baratuciat 2018 $34.00
Barat is the latest addition to Iuli's range. It is made with 100% Baratuciat, a nearly-extinct variety originally from the Val di Susa, west of Torino. In the area's dialect, the name means "the cat's testicles," in reference to its oval-shaped berries. The vines for Barat were planted in 2015, making the 2018 the first release. Fermented spontaneously and aged in concrete vats until the Spring. 4000 bottles made. 
Iuli Malidea Monferrato Nebbiolo 2018
Iuli Malidea Monferrato Nebbiolo 2018 $38.00
Malidea is 100% Nebbiolo. It's also the name of the hill between the cantina and where the Nebbiolo vines were planted, in 1999. "Mal' idea" in Italian means "bad idea," an apt name for a Nebbiolo wine in the land of Barbera, but a challenge Fabrizio wanted to take. The south-facing vineyard was harvested during the first week of October. Vinified in concrete with 21-31 days of maceration. Aged at least 16 months in large Slavonian oak casks of 2500L, followed by 6 months of bottle aging. 4,200 bottles made.   
Iuli Nino Monferrato Pinot Nero 2018
Iuli Nino Monferrato Pinot Nero 2018 $42.00
Nino is 100% Pinot Noir. Fabrizio, a lover of Burgundy, planted one hectare of Pinot in 1999, with a northern exposure at 380m above sea level. "Nino" is local dialect for "bambino," as he feels this wine is like a kid: delicate, fun, with a lot of clean, youthful fruit. Vinified in stainless steel with 10-12 days on the skins. Malolactic and aging occurred in 1000L botti. The wine was aged 16 months in cask and 6 months in bottle. 3,500 bottles made. 
Iuli Malidea Monferrato Nebbiolo 2018 1.5L
Iuli Malidea Monferrato Nebbiolo 2018 1.5L $85.00
Genevieve Murphy

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