Dario Princic has now for many years been a paradigmatic example and guiding light when it comes to masterful orange wines from Friuli-Venezia Giulia's Collio subregion, as well as being one of the most revered producers of this hallowed style in the whole world. Dario likes to call himself an “artisan of wine” and we agree but his shimmering, character-filled, and mind-numbingly complex wines manage to seamlessly unite the artisan dimension with that of pure art.
Long before natural wines were even called that, way back in 1993, Dario was working like he is now, according to the strictest and purest vinnaturist ethos, in the village of Oslavia, a stone’s throw from the Slovenian borders in the famed Collio area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. His estate, composed of soils mainly of ancient clay-limestone, extends for about 10 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards surrounded by verdant woods.
Using only minimal quantities of sulfur and copper – well below the limits of organic and biodynamic certifications – he works with the typical local varieties such as Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Friulano, and Chardonnay for the whites, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds.In the cellar fermentation only happens spontaneously with native yeasts and can extend for as long as nature demands, with long skin contact for both white and red wines. No degrading fining or filtrations are to be found.
All wines see long aging both in used French barriques and in barrels crafted by Dario himself made from local wood. Princic wines are never released until Dario deems the time to be just right. In each and every bottle we find an uncompromising love for his hallowed terroir and the uncanny ability to squeeze the very soul out of it.
Dario’s entry-level wine – if it can even be called that – the Dario Princic Bianco NV was originally custom-made for his Japanese importer with the idea of a lighter every day orange wine and it’s a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon with 5-7 days of skin contact. It shimmers and roars with amazing concentration coupled with agile drinkability: spiced gingerbread, ripe apricots, fried sage, and royal jelly.
The Ribolla 2016 is a true powerhouse of an orange wine with a potential Highlander-life ahead of it. It sees about 21 days of glorious skin contact and sings otherworldly runes of fresh jackfruit with saffron and turmeric, braised persimmon with Oolong tea, and striking minerality.
Author: Giovanni Segni ©