The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Refosco Fan Club

Posted on | May 26, 2010 | Written by Josh Rubenstein | No Comments

Last night at our Fantinel wine dinner at Tuscany by H, we saw the birth of the Refosco Fan Club of Hong Kong.  On a night when more familiar wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Prosecco showed very well, it was the less familiar wines—Refosco and Ramandolo—that boldly announced themselves as wines to be taken very seriously.

Both of these wines came from Marco Fantinel’s boutique Friuli estate, La Roncaia, and both sparked discussion of the endless possibilities for local Friulano wines like these in Hong Kong, as well as their challenges. Watching this crowd grow excited over these more obscure wines was reminiscent for me of the first time I saw the superhuman Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt destroy world records at the Beijing Olympics. No one expected what they got, and what they got was awesome.

Make no mistake: Fantinel is shooting for the very top with his appassimento-style Refosco, one of three produced by his family’s estates.  The only wine comparable to this Refosco that comes to mind is Giuseppe Quintarelli’s Primofiore, though this comparison could evolve into something like Quintarelli’s Valpolicella.  La Roncaia was created in partnership with Tibor Gal, who was instrumental in the creation of Ornellaia and Masseto before heading to Friuli for this venture.

Our group simply could not stop talking about this Refosco—and then our dessert wine arrived. It was La Roncaia’s 2007 Ramandolo.  None of our guests had ever heard of Ramandolo before, but it didn’t matter after the first sip of this late-harvested Verduzzo beauty. One of our very experienced guests declared it to be one of the best dessert wines he’d ever tasted!

And just like that, the Ramandolo Fan Club was also born.  No handshake has been created yet—at least not one that I can tell you about.

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