Ronchi di Cialla Ciallabianco 2018


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“The 2018 Cialla Bianco is smoky, wafting up with dusty chalk and musky notes of peach and pear. This gains a confectionary melon note with time in the glass. It’s texturally deep with cooling acids and mineral-tinged melon, while it soothes yet also stimulates the palate. The 2018 tapers off dry and lightly structured, yet also refreshing and long, leaving a hint of sour citrus and a lingering salty sensation. Lose this in the cellar for three to five years. The Ciallabianco is a blend ot 65% Ribolla Gialla, 25% Picolit and 10% Verduzzo from 50-year-old vines. Drinking window: 2025-2032. 93 points

Cialla is located in the eastern reaches of Friuli Colli Orientali, yet it is quite unique from the surrounding areas, as valleys run deep between its forested higher elevations, and vineyards can be found like a patchwork strewn throughout. If there was only one producer that you could ever taste the wines of from this zone, it would have to be Ronchi di Cialla. Their winery sits atop a hill of vines, like a mirage in a desert. It was here that the now-deceased Paolo Rapuzzi and his wife, Dina, had the passion and insights to save the Schioppettino variety from near extinction, a story that my predecessor told very well in his article, “Ronchi di Cialla’s Schioppettino di Cialla: 1982-2010” in June of 2017. Along with saving Schioppettino, they also proved the importance of the variety, as today it is truly one of the most interesting and age-worthy reds being produced in Friuli. However, in my opinion, Ronchi di Cialla’s Schioppettino remains the best. While at the estate, I was able to taste with Ivan Rapuzzi, the current-generation winemaker, and taste both new vintages and old. One of the highlights of this property is their regular release of library wines, both red and white, as well as the reasonable prices attached to them. These wines mature amazingly well, evidenced by my experience with the 1996 and 1984 Schioppettino di Cialla, as well as the 1998 Ciallabianco (a blend of Ribolla Gialla, Picolit and Verduzzo). Ivan Rapuzzi runs the winery with his mother and brother, and the family has chosen to change nothing about the traditional wines of the estate, but to only add some fresher expressions to the lineup, such as the zesty Ciallarosso, a blend of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Schioppettino. This is not just a historic winery, but also a historic family. The wines that they are producing today deserve serious consideration.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)