by Dixon Brooke
Contadino, vignaiolo, artista: all-around Renaissance man Edi Kante is as much of an enigma as the brilliant wines that he ekes from the rugged Carso hills in the extremes of northeastern Italy’s “Adriatic Baltic” zone. This little slice of the world—where the beautiful coastal town of Trieste hugs borders with Slovenia and Croatia, and impossibly rocky bluffs rise toward the forest—is fittingly as mysterious and diverse as the Kante winery itself.
Following in his father’s footsteps, in the 1980s Edi began working in the vineyards and quickly made his mark on the family property. The three-story cellar he carved out of Carso bedrock in which to age his wines is the stuff of legend. It’s all about the stone: the terreno of Carso, a rugged limestone plateau in the hills above Trieste, is the defining common denominator in Kante’s wines. They are distinguished by a shared thread of chalky, at times austere, minerality, maritime freshness, fleshiness, smooth textures that lack hard edges, and awesomely singular presentation of grape variety. In an increasingly homogenized universe, it is refreshing to encounter such a unique vision. From the vineyard to the unconventional techniques in the cellar to the hand-painted labels on the bottles, Kante meticulously controls every step of the production process and follows the beat of his own drum, producing (mostly) white wines that are patiently made, aged to perfection, and released when he deems them ready. We feel it is our duty to bring this Friulian master’s wines the attention and care they so richly deserve.
Soft, ethereal, elegant interpretation of this indigenous Adriatic grape—serve with minimally prepared, wild and raw sea creatures.
The Malvasia Istriana strain grown here, named after the Istrian peninsula of Croatia, is a far cry from the Malvasia of other parts of Italy. Like any Kante wine, it flourishes with some air, and the ripe fruit will tighten up into a wiry, briny, Muscadet-like seafood wine.
You have never tasted Sauvignon quite like this. Restrained and classy, it will be a distinct change from the explosive gooseberry creations you are probably used to. Different, not necessarily better (you be the judge).
You’ll recognize the grape, not the terroir. This cool, stony, poised glass of Chardonnay will blossom into something very special but is already delicious.
Every time I taste this chameleon, it changes: most recently it expressed Riesling-like petrol notes. Aged to perfection in bottle in Kante’s icy cellars, this white is ready to sing with a lobster, a whole baked sole, or whatever your pleasure.
You will have fun opening this alongside much more expensive white Burgundies. Kante isolates his best barrels in great years and ages them for an extended period in tank and bottle before releasing them separately. Showy and still very young.
This pure Pinot Noir made in the Champagne method and aged in the Kante cellars is a delicate flower—very pretty, aromatic, and racy. There are very few sparkling rosatos of this quality in Italia.
A blend of Chardonnay and Malvasia Istriana, bottled with zero dosage. It is dry, chalky, and just the right combination of fleshy and lean. Serious sparkling wine.