Close this search box.

I CLIVI, Friuli, Italy

I Clivi
Colli Orientali, Friuli

Ferdinando and Mario Zanusso
Two ancient vineyards – twelve hectares of very old vines on steep, terraced hills in two of Friuli’s best sites: sea-facing slopes of the first range of hills rising from the south across the “Collio” D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and the “Colli Orientali del Friuli” D.O.C. districts, on the northeastern rim of the Adriatic Sea. This is considered to be the very best vinegrowing land of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where the most reputed white wines of Italy come from. Soil composition is a mixture of limestone, clay and sandstone.

Zanusso’s idea was to let history speak through the wine, by making as “transparent” a wine as possible, in which soil, climate and tradition may come through fully. A wine truly grown, whose character is shaped entirely in the vineyard by soil, climate and vines and is in no way altered in the cellar, a wine that stands solely on itself, on its own intrinsic qualities, and is not made to suffer any intervention or “improvement”. In short, purest terroir expression. Certified organic, naturally low yields seldom reaching 20 hectolitres per hectare (1.25 tons/acre), and spontaneous, non-interventionist winemaking to ensure absolute integrity.

The first wine was produced in 1996. Current production is around 1,500 cases of white wine DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli and DOC Collio from the local Tocai, Verduzzo and Malvasia varieties, and a 500 cases of red wine DOC Colli Oriental del Friuli from a particularly well acclimatized clone of Merlot, introduced here 150 years ago. Old age is the common trait of the vines, from over forty up to eighty years old.

Clivi wines are made with traditional methods; State-of-the-art techniques as are used are solely intended to secure the best possible conditions for the natural processes through which wine comes into existence and matures. Fermented with indegenous yeast, the wine undergoes subsequent malolactic fermentation and is matured in inox tanks on its own lees for 2 years, no racking nor filtration. it is pure grape juice transformed into wine.

In a nutshell:

Vineyards – 12 hectares (30 acres), of which 4 hectares (10 acres) in the “Collio” D.O.C. district and 8 hecatres (20 acres) in the “Colli Orientali del Friuli” D.O.C. district, all owned. Mostly whites of the old local varieties Tocai,

Verduzzo and Malvasia; reds are of the Merlot variety.

Vine age – 40 to 60 years and over. De n s i t y – 2500 vines per hectare (1000 vines per acre). These are old traditional vineyards on steep hillside slopes (40% average gradient).

Yields – 2 to 3 tons of fully ripened, handpicked grapes per hectare (0.8 to 1,25 tons per acre).

Production – 25 to 35,000 bottles. Only one white and a red produced in each DOC (one vineyard, one wine), i.e.

Brazan (Collio DOC): 7-10,000 bottles white (Tocai/Malvasia blend) and 2-3,000 red (Merlot).

Galea (Colli Or.del Friuli DOC): 12-16,000 white (Tocai/Verduzzo blend) and 4-6,000 red (Merlot).

Fermentation – In stainless steel, at controlled cool temperatures. Activated and conducted by the grapes’ own yeasts only, including naturally-occurring malolactic fermentation. For whites no pellicular maceration and slow fermentation to January/February. For reds, 4 to 5 weeks maceration and moderate remontages.

Cellar – Time is the main treatment. No inoculations of yeasts or chemical agents. The wine is left on its lees for at least two years to stabilize – in the following autumn it may ferment again to burn off one or two grams of residual sugar – and clarify, then it is bottled and laid down for some months being offered for sale at minimum three years of age. No racking, no oak (white wine), no filtering. Bottling is done by hand – both filling and corking.