Terčič & Famiglia Statella, so distant and yet so close
What do an estate on the northeast border of Italy, and one on Mount Etna, have in common? They seem like two very distant worlds, but there is something they share, a great passion for their territory and for their wines. This is the "trait d'union" between these two excellent wine-growers, rarely in my experience have I seen vineyards so orderly and well kept. Each row is tended with almost maniacal care, so that rather than being in a vineyard it seems one is in a delightful garden. Matijaz and Calogero demonstrate with their wines, a great "vigneron" talent; these two companies are truly "family run" due to their small size, and 90% of the work is done by family members. As a matter of fact, Calogero Statella strongly emphasizes this aspect by naming the estate Famiglia Statella (Statella Family).
We are in the Collio Goriziano, just a few hundred meters from the border with Slovenia, a land that has always been dedicated to viticulture and in particular to white grapes. 1600 Hectares of hilly vineyards where we find: Friulano (former Tocai), Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Istriana as well as Sauvignon and Chardonnay introduced since1850, with Merlot and Cabernet among the reds. The soil is largely composed of rocks and sandstonee of Eocene origin created by the lifting of the bed of the nearby Adriatic Sea. These rocks are rather friable and easily broken due to the weather conditions, resulting in an ideal soil for viticulture, deep and very draining. The climate is tempered thanks to the proximity of the sea, while the hilly formation provides good ventilation and thermal excursion that results in the finesse and elegance of the wines of the collio, as well as good structure and aging potential. The Tercic family have been producing wine from the vineyards in the small commune of San Floriano del Collio for three generations. Currently Matijaz, with his wife Mjriam and parents' help, cultivates 6.5 hectares (14 acres) of vineyards in 5 different locations.
Unlike the Terčič family, three generations if winemakers, Calogero Statella is the first of his family to deal with vineyards and wine. Brilliant student of Enology and Viticulture at the prestigious Enological School of S. Michele all'Adige and then at the State University of Milan where he graduated with the highest marks by discussing his thesis with Professor Attilio Scienza, the major connoisseur of vines in Italy. Once completed his studies he was immediately hired by the Mezzacorona Group, one of the largest production companies in the country, following the development of the Cantina Feudo Arancio’s project, Sicilian branch of the group, a cellar capable of producing about 20 million bottles per year. In 2008, after working over 7 years, he left the Mezzacorona Group to follow Marco de Grazia at Tenuta delle Terre Nere in the Etna DOC Area, where he is at the same time the Agronomist and the Oenologist. But like all oenologists, Calogero also cultivated the dream of owning a company of his own, to run with his wife Rita, and in the future with his little daughters Claudia and Adele. The pursuit of his dream finally culminated in 2015 in the purchase of a beautiful vineyard of about 1 hectare in the Pettinociarelle cru in Sollicchiata not far from Tenuta delle Terre Nere’s estate , from which he was able with the 2016 vintage to produce its Etna Red. When I think about Calogero’s story and his choice to start with a cellar of his own, I cannot help but compare him to the great chef of a 3 star restaurant who cooks at home for his family and will surely use all his technique and professionalism, but will add an extra ingredient...