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Matej Skerlj

  • Organic certified
  • Biodynamic uncertified
  • No sulphite

Finding a hitherto unknown great wine is every wine boffin’s dream and is made all the sweeter when you find it in the place you’d least expect.

We’d been at an annual wine event in Friuli, driving around the region in the essential Mini, turning up wherever people had marked their intention to participate and gone eating and drinking in any manner of houses, cafés and improvised restaurants. It had been a good time if not necessarily a fruitful one, until one of those magic ‘wow’ moments.

We were in a 1950s built Agriturismo eating gnocchi with a heavy cream sauce when we first tasted the ‘wow-provoking’ orange wine. We finally established that it was the guy behind the bar, wearing a pretty unprepossessing pair of tracksuit bottoms, that was the winemaker. A few enquiries later and he tells us that there are a few barrels from his tiny 2 ha estate available.

We have, quite simply, fallen on orange gold. Orange wines are hard – and expensive to make – with two years (at least) lees ageing, but these are the best we’ve tasted on the trip, and at a truly competitive price.