Single Bottle Review

Dorigo Friuli Colli Orientali Chardonnay 2017

I introduced the wines of Dorigo – an exciting and innovative producer in Friuli – in a previous post on their Pignolo.  Pignolo is just one of their many wines, based on many rare local grapes as well as some better known international varieties.  Their range extends over four lines which are fairly self-explanatory:

  • Prestige: Chardonnay, Ronc di Juri, Montsclapade, Rosso Dorigo, Pignolo 
  • Colour: Pinot Grigio, Pinorigo, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon, Friulano, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Refosco, Schioppettino
  • Sweet: Picolit, Verduzzo
  • Perlage (traditional method sparkling): Dorigo Brut, Blanc de Noir, Blanc de Blancs

The winery was founded by Giralamo Dorigo in 1966 when there was very little wine – and even less quality wine – made in the eastern hills of Friuli, close to Italy’s border with Slovenia.  Today, the baton has been passed to his son Alessio who continues his father’s work.

In contrast to the very rare Pignolo, we now turn to another of their wines made from a more common grape – Chardonnay:

Dorigo Friuli Colli Orientali “Ronc di Juri” Chardonnay 2017

As you may have noticed from the information above, Chardonnay is one of Dorigo’s five Prestige bottlings – and probably my favourite grape, so it was likely to receive a good reception chez Frankly Wines.  However, its relative lack of rarity and ease of production mean that its price is much more modest (see below).

Grapes are all hand picked at full ripeness (one of the guiding principles of Dorigo’s wine making).  Triage of bunches ensures that only the best fruit is used.  Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place in a mixture of new and one-year old French oak barrels.  The wine is matured on its lees – with bâtonnage four times a week – for a total of ten months, before blending and bottling.

This Chardonnay pours a light gold colour in the glass.  There are intense aromas of freshly squeezed orange juice on the nose, including all the pulp and pith.  I didn’t do a comparison there and then, but it wasn’t somewhat reminiscent of fresh OJ, it was just like fresh OJ!  The palate shows lovely vanilla, buttered toast and orchard fruits.

I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed this to be a Chardonnay tasted blind…I might possibly have stabbed at a high end Godello such as As Sortes.  Perhaps it’s the lightness and freshness despite the oak cloak which make this Chardonnay different from the norm.

Dorigo give “ten years and more” as their ageing estimate for this wine.  To be honest, although delicious at the moment, I think it still has a way to go before hitting its peak.  I can’t wait!


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