The Past and Future of Scarbolo
The story of Scarbolo began in the 1940s with Gino Scarbolo, a tenant-farmer, making wine for the estate on which he lived. A passion for winegrowing quickly took hold and in the early 1950s Gino moved his young family to Lauzacco, where he purchased his own land on which to grow grapes. In 1982 his son Valter, who grew up learning his father’s dedication to his craft, decided to study viticulture and oenology and to continue in the family business. 60 years after Gino began making wine, Scarbolo is now in the hands of Valter and Maria Grazia’s children Lara (winemaker), and Mattia (sales and marketing), and the story continues, infused with the energy and creativity of this next generation.
No matter who is at the helm, a deep commitment to harmony and quality are defining features of the ethos at Scarbolo. All three winemaking generations believe in a strong relationship with the land and vineyards, which is why Scarbolo’s focus remains on sustainability. They also believe that wine is an expression of terroir and that its true expression changes with every vintage, something that good winemaking doesn’t challenge, but accommodates.
This minimalist, terroir-driven approach leads them to work mainly with regional varieties and produce wines that are pure expressions of the terroir of Friuli; with some of the oldest sedimentary rock in the region and a microclimate of both Mediterranean and Continental influences that promotes slow, even ripening, grapes have incredible aromatic character, mineral depth and freshness. These qualities are showcased through simple vinification and maturation mainly in stainless steel and on the fine lees.
In the hands of the third generation, Scarbolo’s wines still reflect the past while Lara and Mattia are also innovating and building on tradition: moving from sustainable to organic viticulture, experimenting with indigenous yeasts found in the vineyards for fermentation and introducing the use of neutral oak barrels to enhance texture in the wines. Like the symbol of the wheels on their labels, Scarbolo is a winery in constant motion, always striving for a brighter future.
Scarbolo 2020 Friulano, Friuli
Retail: $22.20 / btl
Scarbolo 2017 Merlot, Friuli
Retail: $24.00 / btl
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90 points – James Suckling, August 2021
Waxed lemons, pomelo zest, crushed stones and some fennel on the nose. It’s medium-bodied with tangy acidity and a juicy, zesty palate. White pepper on the finish.
Shiny ruby red with a fine bouquet with notes of wild berries, cherries and pepper. On the palate it is smooth and full with ripe red fruit and fine tannins. Excellent balance and freshness on the finish.
The Scarbolo estate in Lauzacco is located only 15 km from the Italian border with Slovenia. Seven separate vineyards, comprising 30 hectares, are planted to traditional Friulian varieties — Friulano (formerly Tocai Friulano), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Refosco and Pinot Grigio. Approximately 160,000 bottles are produced annually.
Scarbolo’s vineyards are impeccable, and the fruit produces wines of remarkable intensity and extract. Valter took over the estate from his father, and has completely revitalized the vineyards and modernized the cellar. Tragically, in July 2010, the winery was completely destroyed by a tornado — a blessing of sorts that prompted a re-evaluation and confirmation of the ideals and goals of Valter & Maria Grazia and their children Mattia & Lara — not to mention an opportunity to further re-design and update. Having completed her oenology degree in the spring of 2017, Lara has joined her father in the cellar. Mattia has also returned to Lauzacco from several years working in the US, now looking after sales and marketing. The siblings’ complementary skills and interests are bringing fantastic passion and energy to the family winery.
In recognition of the next generation, two impressive and extreme wines have been added to the range – Lara Sunset Scent Chardonnay, a single vineyard planted in 1993, and Mattia Beyond Pinot, from a Pinot Grigio vineyard planted in 1990. Perhaps a coincidence that the vineyards were planted in Lara & Mattia’s birth years?
Valter says that Ramato is ‘the opposite of Rosato’, in that he uses red wine process on white grapes to create a full-bodied, copper-coloured, perfumed, and very interesting wine (Rosato is essentially white wine process on red grapes to create Rosé). Scarbolo produces 2 versions of this historical style of Pinot Grigio, and even the ‘normal’ Pinot Grigio has impressive depth of colour and flavour. Ramato XL could be called an ‘orange wine’.
My Time is Valter’s version of the requisite Friulan interpretation of a serious, complex, full-bodied blended white wine – Chardonnay, Friulano, & Sauvignon co-fermented and aged in French oak tonneaux.
James Suckling commented that Scarbolo produces ‘one of the best Sauvignons in Friuli’.
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