Simon has been drinking this north-eastern Italian white for some time, as and when he has come across it in various restaurants, without knowing that much about it. He says it has never disappointed – always offering a complexity of fruit that he finds lacking in some of the single varietal wines from this area. His full offer, below.
Part of me always wants to champion indigenous varieties, but Vintage Tunina is in fact a blend which incorporates Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay alongside local varieties Picolit, Ribolla Gialla and Malvasia Istriana and frankly neither of the international varieties overplay their hand. This is what is known as a ‘field blend’ meaning these varieties are mixed in the vineyard and only the best grapes are selected for Tunina; interestingly it is harvested around two weeks later than a normal harvest.
Situated in Fruili-Venezia-Giulia, near the Slovenian border, Silvio Jermann is considered one of the great pioneers of Italian wine. He produces a whole host of impressive wines, but it is the Tunina which is the most individual – its first release was in the 1975 vintage and by the 1980s it was winning awards, accolades and recognition. The 16-hectare ‘Tunina’ vineyard, located in the Ronco del Fortino, was once owned by a lady who was known as Casanova’s poorest lover, herself a governess in Venice, named Antonia and known simply as ‘Tunina’.
In 2011, wine critic Antonio Galloni of vinous.com included a review of the 2009 Vintage Tunina in an in-depth review of whites from north-eastern Italy, and stated that ‘Readers should be aware that Jermann is owned by my wife's uncle…. An article on Friuli without these wines would have been incomplete and ultimately the consumer would have been poorer for their exclusion. For those reasons I have chosen to include the wines in this report. Neither my wife nor I have any financial or other interest, direct or indirect, in this property.’ I would say his reviews of the estate are very fair indeed, and if anything, underplay the quality of the wines on show.
As yet no major critic has reviewed the 2015 Vintage Tunina, so I include my full note below.
2015 Vintage Tunina, Jermann
£165 per 6 bottle case in bond
Notes of citrus and peach-skin on the nose, all juicy fruits with a floral lift. The palate has surprising breadth and texture, almost glossy, with succulent, juicy nectarine, apricot and almost a note of chalky minerals. There is a gently honeyed accent here, with a touch of spearmint, but the finish is racy and clean-cut with the zestiness and limey nature of Sauvignon Blanc coming through. A very individual wine that hints at a richer profile but retains its tension. Already more-ish and interesting, it will take on more complexity and its richness will come through should you choose to age it over the next four to five years. Drinking now to 2023 (SL).
Should you wish to stock up on some wines to drink over spring and summer, please note this will be in our cellars by the 16th April and available for onward delivery from that point.