William’s Pick for September: Venica & Venica Ronco del Cero and Equipo Navazos-Niepoort Vino Blanco

Venica & Venica Ronco del Cero 2010
Venica & Venica
Ronco del Cero 2010

Venica & Venica was founded by Daniele Venica in 1930. Currently Giampaolo, Daniele’s grandson, is helming the estate and in charge of the winemaking. The Collio district of Friuli in northeastern Italy, right along the border with Slovenia is a beautiful region with a complex topography of forested hills and valleys. Ronco del Cero, which takes its name from the first hilltop vineyards planted by Daniele back in the thirties, is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grown in seven different vineyards which make up a portion of the family’s holdings in the area. It is one of the most aromatic and complex versions that you are likely to find of this extremely popular grape, and makes a compelling case that Friuli really is home to some of the best whites grown in Italy or anywhere else.

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Equipo Navazos Niepoort Vino Blanco 2009
Equipo Navazos-Niepoort

Vino Blanco 2009
This is an absolutely delicious wine, one that I love drinking – but not everyone will agree with me. I’m all right with that. This is not what most people expect when they open a bottle of wine; in reality, it’s almost Sherry, but it’s not. We won’t get into how misunderstood Sherry is, we’ll save that for another time. This wine is aged under flor, the layer of yeast that grows atop the wine in underfilled barrels which lends Sherry its distinctive nutty flavor, but unlike Sherry it is not fortified, meaning that the alcohol level is in line with that of typical white wines. It shows a rich, nutty flavor along with lemony notes and a salty, appley element. Equipo Navazos, the “team” which are bringing some of the most captivating wines of Jerez to the market, are on the forefront of artisan Sherry, this wine is a nod to the past when the wines of Jerez were not typically fortified if destined for consumption within the region. If you’re looking for something different, this is a wine that might even change some assumptions you may have about what wine is; it’s that distinctive.

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