DARIO PRINCIC, OSLAVIA, COLLIO
Azienda Agricola Dario Prinčič is located in the village of Oslavia, just north of the town of Gorizia, and a few steps from the border with Slovenia. Ten hectares densely planted form the property, with almost all the vineyards with a Southeast exposure. The land is very steep, the soil is clay and sandstone, and everything is done by hand.
After harvest, once the grapes are in the cellar, they are de-stemmed and placed in open wooden vats for the maceration with no temperature control, no added yeasts and no use of sulfur. Dario employs different periods of maceration depending on the variety of the grape. After pressing, the must goes to wooden barrels and barriques. Before bottling, the wine stays 6 months in stainless steel tanks for natural fining. During bottling a small addition of SO2 is done. The wines are bottled unfiltered and often show a brilliant orange colour in the glass.
Princic’s wines have the same feel as those of La Stoppa and Valentini: totally unfiltered and minimally sulphured, they taste of the earth, of rock salts and bitter stony fruits, in other words edgily natural. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or Sauvignon) but thank goodness in an era of branding and conformity that we can dance on the wilder shores of winemaking.
The Oslavia region was batted back and forth throughout the 20th century and when Collio (Dario’s homeland) became Italian, the alignment with a predominately red-wine drinking culture led to indigenous white varieties – particularly the heavenly Ribolla Gialla– to be ripped up. Ribolla became nearly extinct and were it not for modern Collio producers like Radikon, Gravner and Princic, the grape would have been lost. Dario has kept the 17 acres of vines organic since the beginning and has implemented biodynamic practices in recent years. All harvesting is done by hand. Dario only uses native yeast and never fines, filters, or temperature controls his wines.
30 days on skins, aged in acacia and chestnut barrels, bottled younger than the other wines to retain the insane freshness. The nose is marzipan and chocolate mint; Lemon verbena immediately on the tongue, then salty peaches and candied lemon rind. The finish lasts for minutes, as pure and intense of a young orange wine as you can find.