Saturday, December 19, 2020

"Where Dreams have no end ..." Chardonnay 2017

Movie featured, Rock album inspired wine - Jermann "Where Dreams have no end ..." Bianca Venezia Giulia Chardonnay 2017

Jermann is an internationally acclaimed producer in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, the far northeastern corner of Italy bordered by Austria on the north, Slovenia to the east, and the Italian Veneto to the west. With a history as a political and cultural crossroads, it is no wonder that the wines and cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia reflect Italian, Austrian, French and eastern European traditions. 

 The region is best known for its white wines, and specializes in the native Tocai Friulano, a white grape that produces plush dry wines with fruit flavors balanced by minerals and acidity. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignnon Blanc, and Chardonnay area also grown, along with the native grapes Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia and Istriana. Artisanal producers in the region also make white blends, called “super whites,” which are generally distinctive blends of native grapes and Chardonnay. 

The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is famous for these often fascinating and unusual white wines that are savory (as opposed to fruity) and are superb matches for the seafood dishes common to the Adriatic Coast of Friuli. In contrast to the whites, Friuli’s catalogue of unique reds from indigenous varieties such as Refosco, Schioppettino, and Tazzelenghe are bright, fresh, and berry-scented - far more in keeping with the Northern Italian paradigm of flavors and aromas.

Nearly 40% of Friuli-Venezia Giulia wines are red. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown, along with the native grapes Refosco, Pignolo and Schioppettino, which is also called Ribolla Nera. The region has 46,000 vineyard acres, of which 60% is classified as DOC. There are nine DOCs.  

Like many producers in the area, the Jermann family’s roots are Germanic. The Jermanns migrated from Austria to Slovenia in the 18th century, then in the 19th century moved over the border to Friuli. Jermann was founded in 1881 in the quiet village of Villanova di Farra by Austrian-born Anton Jermann. Today, the winery is led by Silvio Jermann, grandson of Anton, and Silvio’s son Michele.

Jermann has 330 acres of vineyards. In the mid-20th century Angelo Jermann grew grapes and raised livestock, and in the 1970s his son Silvio began focusing on wine production. In 1975 the estate released its first vintage of Tunina, a then daring blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia, Istriana and Picolit that quickly became a cult hit. Friuli blends were unheard of at the time, but it was just the first for Jermann. Since then the estate has created other highly rated white blends using indigenous grapes such as Tocai Friulano. Jermann also produces unblended Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Riesling. 

Although known for white wines, Jermann makes reds from Pinot Noir and Franconia, among other grapes. Silvio Jermann’s willingness to buck tradition also explains why most Jermann bottles come with screw tops. Jermann was an early adopter of screw tops, even for high end wines.  In 2019 Gambero Rosso named Jermann’s 2016 Capo Martino, a white blend, the top Italian white wine of the year.  

"Where Dreams Have No End", is the wine label produced at the Jermann's Ruttars winery in the crescent-shaped Collio zone near the Slovenian border to the east. The vineyards are located in the area known as Ronco del Fortino, where the rolling hills are composed of chalk and clay marl banded with sandstone and cooled by the Bora wind off the Adriatic Sea. A wide shift between day and nighttime temperatures endows wines from Collio with vibrant acidity and deeply-perfumed aromatics.

This whimsically named label was inspired and created by the song “Where the streets have no name” from the U2 rock group′s album “The Joshua Tree” produced in 1987. Its not the only label inspired by or named for a Rock and Roll song, Cliff Lede wines in Napa Valley have several vineyards with sections named for famous rock and roll albums or songs, famously called the 'rock blocks'.

This wine was created with the 1987 harvest and over the years has become somewhat of a cult wine, even before it was featured in a popular movie which only served to ignite its legendary name. The name has undergone a number of variations. For its first nine years it was called “Where the Dreams have no end…”. Jermann changed the colour of its capsule with every vintage, cycling through the seven colours of the iris (plus white and black) on the label, beginning with white and progressing anticlockwise. The four phases of the moon were also shown.

In 1996 it became “Were Dreams, now it is just wine!”, with a blue capsule bearing a stylised Comet Hale-Bopp, a packaging that continued for seven years. 

In 2003 the branding returned to the earlier designs and adding the year of harvest below and drawing Mars on the capsule. 

The 'dreams' branding got a boost in its acclaim when a bottle of red wine with the label branding was featured in the opening scenes of the movie Parent Trap when a bottle with the same label was poured and presented at the elegant dinner. 

The legend was hightened further with the movie score, by notable music producer Alan Silvestri, also bears the same name as the label, "Where Dreams Have No End" (Parent Trap movie score).

So it was that when we saw the label on offer in the local wine shop, we picked up a couple for fun and to try. 

Jermann "Where Dreams have no end ..." Bianca Venezia Giulia Chardonnay 2017

We opened this during one of our family dinners when all were gathered in town for a family funeral recently. Despite the circumstances, the dinners that ensured included a celebration of several fine wines.

This label is primarily Chardonnay with a small amount of blended white grapes from the local area of Dolegna del Collio

It was straw colored, medium bodied with what James Suckling writes eloquently about the wine .... "it offers charm and complexity, with aromas of rare elegance and refinement. Exotic hints of ripened fruit, melted butter, vanilla and pastry prevail. In the mouth it keeps all the promises made to the nose, follows through on them, and embellishes them with gentle flavours and aromatic nuances that are fresh and persistent."

Suckling gave the wine 95 points.

We found this straw colored, medium bodied,  notes of creamy pear, apple and citrus with hints of pineapple, moderate acidity and toasty spice notes. 

RM 89 points.