We recently talked about Tenuta Di Angoris, a winery located in the northeast corner of Italy, near the border with Slovenia. We will talk today with Alessandro Dal Zovo, winemaker of this estate of the 17th century-founded.

Buongiorno, Alessandro, and thank you for your cooperation. I’ve tasted some of your wines, and I think they are very good. I find the Schioppettino really interesting, after tasting the 2012 and 2013 vintages. 

How is it working within the same company according to the rules of three different DOC?

Buongiorno Aitor, and thank you for this great opportunity. The three different DOC can coexist within the same company by careful vineyard management and a careful separation of the grapes at harvest.

All Villa Locatelli wines are DOC Isonzo. These wines are easy to drink. How are the vineyards in this area?

The wines of Villa Locatelli line are fresh cut and fruity, drink together and cheer. The vineyards are trained in Guyot and double Guyot to produce a good quantity of grapes and keep low alcohol content that the wine will have.

All Angoris wines are DOC Friuli Colli Orientali except Collio, Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon which are DOC Collio. Which is the difference between both areas?

There is a great deal of difference between the two areas in regards of the type of soil. In both we face the classic Ponca (flysh) cost marl and sandstone stratified in previous millennia. There is instead difference from a climatic point of view because the cru where the company has vineyards, namely Rocca Bernarda, enjoys the influence of warm currents of the sea being more Southwest than the rest of the Eastern hills of Friuli. The area has more hours of warm throughout the year and is suited for white grapes such as Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Chardonnay, and red grapes as Schioppettino, the Pignolo and Refosco dal peduncolo rosso.

What is your approach to work with these two different production lines, Villa Locatelli and Angoris?

First of all I try to give the wines IDENTITY: in each wine we must recognize both the variety and the territory. Surely we dedicate more efforts to the Angoris wines and Reserves Giulio Locatelli as are our calling cards and high image quality.

There is a difference between local varieties and international ones in terms of adaptation to the ground?

More than for the adaptation to the ground there is difference in regards to the climate. In hard vintages as when you stayed here in the year 2014, one of the most rainy years of the last century in Friuli, the native varieties were able to have a toughness and greater consistency, the result of a probably genetic adaptation of plants to climatic difficulties.

In this area, Ponca land is very special. What do they give the wines?

The Ponca form the structure, minerality and more concentration. On Ponca land plants have lower water availability and therefore everything is more focused and structured.

In the Angoris line you have produced a Chardonnay and Traminer wines no longer in production. What happened to those wines?

Chardonnay is still produced but has become part of the Reserve Giulio Locatelli wines (founder of modern Tenuta Angoris). Previously everything was vinified in stainless steel and now 80% of the wine aged in stainless steel and 20% aged in oak barrels of 500 liters where even they do the malolactic fermentation. In the first year in which it was produced, the 2013, the wine achieved its first Three Glasses of Gambero Rosso (a prestigious Italian wine trophy). Traminer is no longer produced because the vineyard was very old and no economically sustainable.

Three of your wines, Pignolo (900 bottles), Ravòst-Merlot (3,000 bottles) and Collio Bianco (3,000 bottles) were classified as Reserve Giulio Locatelli. Their production is very low. What these wines must be so special?

In these wines, as well as for Chardonnay Spiùle, there is a lot of work in the vineyard and in the year that delivered during the harvest. Often the final wine is the composition of several wines made from grape harvested in different times in order to make a big selection of grapes and achieve a perfect balance between acidity and structure.

Why the local Pignolo grape is so special?

Pignolo had almost disappeared from the Friulian wine and was recovered by the Abbey of Rosazzo in the 1980s. It’s a difficult vine from the viticultural and winemaking point of view. The plant produces very slender and thin branches that break easily in the spring, putting at risk the production of successive vintages. Grapes and then wine are therefore very rich in tannins and it needs a long aging period in wood. Our Pignolo is aged in casks or barrels for five years. I think it’s one of the few great red wines from Friuli for long aging.

Which varieties do you prefer to work?

My favorite variety is undoubtedly the Chardonnay. It’s a faithful vine, I will never betray it even a bit, like the woman of your life. It’s very versatile and it can make a great sparkling wine and is a great white wine for aging. Among the native grapes Tocai Friulano is my favorite along with the Schioppettino and Pignolo.

You have worked with famous winemakers Riccardo Cotarella and Denis Dubourdieu. What did you get from them?

Both have been key to my personal and professional growth. Riccardo Cotarella is a person with great charisma, extremely prepared both technically and commercially and is a great communicator. Denis Dubourdieu, who unfortunately died last year, was a professor, a luminary, a winemaker who dug into the wine.

Using Guyot and Sylvoz as your training methods. Do you favor any of them?

If I want to produce a good quantity of grapes I favor the Sylvoz, if I want to obtain a little more structure I use Guyot. Each choice in the vineyard is always made with the final enological objective.

All your wines except the Collio Bianco are single varietals. Do you have plans for doing more blend wines? A Red blend maybe?

For the moment we do not have a red wine blend in the project.

You have worked in Angoris and Cormons area for almost 25 years. Never thought of going somewhere else?

I must be sincere? No. I feel like a vine planted here for 25 years that now starts to produce its best grapes.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

Very simple: respect for the grapes and for the territory and for the consumer.

Which wines do you drink when you are not working?

When I do not work the wines I like to drink are Franciacorta, I love the Riesling, I very much like the Styrian Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Thank you very much, Alessandro!

Thank you very much!!! Aitor

Photos © by Tenuta Di Angoris