When we talk about Edi Kante we should always assume that he is one of the most influential winegrowers of the Karst, in the far central-eastern quadrant of Friuli Venezia Giulia. This land has a history bathed in the blood of over 1,500,000 soldiers, both Italian and Austro-Hungarian, who died during the First World War, and has experienced, as a logical consequence of such bloodbath, a period of terrible economic recession, which has been remedied only by the recovery plan launched in 1950. Despite this plan, Karst viticulture had remained rather backward and was characterized by a low quality production focused on two types of wine: white, an elementary blend of the various white berried grapes, and a red, the equivalent obtained from red berried grapes.
Edi, who took over his father’s business in 1980, immediately promised to overcome this race to the bottom starting from the ground: the vineyard system. His work resulted in the creation of vineyards from the sinkholes (hollows of fertile land that emerges between the karst rocks) or from stony soils, through a difficult work of adaptation of the latter, by removing or crushing rocks and adding a few centimetres of red earth. This last “correction” of the soil skeleton gave way to his vines to grow and, only later, to allow the roots to dig in the rock in search of feeding.
As for the farming techniques, we cannot forget his decision, initially unusual in those areas, to plant high density vines (over 8,000 vines per hectare), to obtain a very low yield from his vines (not more than half a kilo of grapes per plant) and to adopt a general biological-natural approach. The cellar was also one of the first to be built underground, developed up to 20 meters deep, divided into three levels, to allow each winemaking phase to take place (by gravity fall) in the environment with the correct humidity and temperature. Even inside the winery, finally, Edi was a pioneer, with his wines obtained by long macerations (he is one of the fathers of the so-called “orange wines”), with the almost total abandonment of the addition of SO2 and the aging of the wines in exhausted barriques to allow the proper evolution.
One of Edi’s brainwave is undoubtedly the Extrò, a wine of which little or nothing is known, a sort of game invented to take away from the taster the mystic ceremonial of tasting, pushing him to overcome it and to embrace this wine without bias or superstructures. On the origin vineyards, the vines that compose it, the vintage and the vinification and aging techniques, the strict confidentiality is maintained. What can be said is that it is a wine now out of production (consider yourself lucky if you have one in the cellar like me) for which Edi himself specifically indicates the mode of consumption in the label, with the inscription “shake the bottle before pouring”.
After having blindly followed the instructions, the wine has a color between an intense straw yellow and orange, completely opaque and veiled, due to a bottling with fine lees, a kind of intellectual game in which is taken to the extreme the choice of Edi, who, normally, neither filters nor clarifies its wines. The olfactory range is really curious because it combines the references of a typical white wine, with kumquat, pink grapefruit, dried apricot and chlorophyll, to those of the lees, with a hint of brioche bread, all surrounded by thyme, strawberry tree honey, white sage and saffron, and final echoes of wet-iodine rock. The taste is immediately dominated by an almost glyceric fullness that alternates with a remarkable and tasty acidity, with a salty-iodine minerality that slowly evolves at the center of the palate, all surrounded by the return of kumquat, of the pan brioche and of the rock that persist even after a good length closing.
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