More Brilliant Borgo del Tiglio Friulano, + Prager!


I come from a family of driven accumulators (not hoarders, although some might say there's a subjectively-located fine line between the two!), so I understand the pleasure in having a big pile of something you love. If there's a gene for aquisitiveness, I certainly have it. Nonetheless I'm surprised when a collector offers us, say, several cases of a wine, and then later an even larger number of cases, and later some more... After which they still have some in the cellar. At a certain point one might conclude that they've got the bug, pretty bad. Meanwhile, we all benefit, because in this instance we can offer some of the world's great white wine that's in a gorgeous, perfect spot for drinking. Prager, one of the great names of Austrian wine, is perhaps more familiar for their brilliant, focused, and long-aging wines; Borgo del Tiglio may come as something new, but seriously worth trying. Read on! Jamie Wolff

Klaus (the name of the vineyard); the Danube on the left. Courtesy                                              

It’s something of a curiosity that in considering the great wines of Italy and the great whites of the world, the wines of the Friuli's Collio are somehow overlooked. They combine structure, texture, aromatics, not to mention ageability, in compelling fashion. The region is blessed by a moderate climate, distinctive terroir, and an abundance of gifted growers. We have been fortunate to enjoy a number of wonderful aged bottles over the last year and it has reaffirmed the magic of the wines from the region.

One of the finest of these growers is Nicola Manferrari of Borgo del Tiglio in Brazzano in Collio Gozino. A pharmacist by trade, he took over his father’s estate in 1981 and set about “to make aromatic wines of flavor and equilibrium that will age well.” (As quoted in Carla Capalbo’s splendid book Collio: Fine Wines and Foods from Italy’s North-east.) To achieve this, Nicola keeps yields low, ferments with native yeasts, and vinifies and ages the wines in 250 liter French oak barrels. The resulting wines are textured, mineral, and perfumed. Last year we were delighted to offer a pair of wines wine from Borgo del Tiglio and were heartened by the enthusiastic response. Today we are pleased to offer another lot of Manferrai's wines from the 1995 vintage. The wine benefits from decanting and time to open in the glass, as we discovered in a recent tasting, building on the nose and palate over an afternoon. -John McIlwain

Borgo del Tiglio 1995 Collio Tocai Friulano

From vines grown in Flysch di Cormons (mixed sandstone and marls), fermented and aged in barrel. Pale gold robe. A touch shy aromatically upon opening, but with a quick decant, the aromatic palette expands: scents of white flowers, golden delicious apple, orange oil,  and honey vie with notes of wet stone and iron for prominence. On the multi-layered palate it displays flavors of stone fruit, acacia, Mirabelle plum, with a steely mineral character and a fine zesty acidity on the long, detailed finish. As with other bottles of Borgo del Tiglio from this era, decanting the wine and following it over an afternoon reveals a surprising amount of aromatic detail and textural complexity. Decanted and served a bit cooler than cellar temperature, this pairs beautifully with the local Prosciutto San Danielle, sea food, and fresh cheeses. John McIlwain 

  • white
  • 56 in stock
  • $34.99

Prager 2005 Wachau Riesling Ried Klaus 'Lieblich'

A Smaragd in everything but name, this is Prager at its most ornate and heady -- going into the stylistic realm of some of his neighbors, especially FX Pichler or Hirtzberger. Fear not though, as rather than translate all that ripeness into an unwieldy amount of alcohol, Toni Bodenstein opted to stop fermentation before it was totally complete, leading to a perfectly balanced wine they would call "Feinherb" across the border in Germany. Bodenstein likens it to the 1990 Klaus, which is no faint praise, to be sure. Built to last in the cellar for many, many years. -jfr

Totally in agreement with John, this 'lieblich' bottling is truly unique and is aging well. Opened last month (12/2018) with friends and Chinese food, it did not disappoint. Although darker in color than expected, the wine is fascinatingly opulent, layered, balanced, and has settled in nicely. Highly recommended. Cari Bernard

  • white off-dry
  • 5 in stock
  • $69.99

  • white
  • 6 in stock
  • $64.99

  • white
  • 13 in stock
  • $64.99