A strip of land with a special calling, where the meagre lands of the Grave del Friuli suddenly become enriched with clay and silt, deposited over the millennia as the precious gift of the rivers which form this small napkin of plain running between the sea and the mountains. An ancient land whose very name brings to mind noble travelers and bandits hidden in those same ditches that even today border our vineyards. Our wines are born here, with their roots in the history and the precious substance of these fertile lands.
The ancient villa Fossa Mala in Fiume Veneto, immersed in the vineyards of the Grave del Friuli area, plays host and custodian to the valuable work which, year after year and with repeated wonder, transforms our precious grapes into wine.
Katia Roncadin is the proprietor of Fossa Mala. This is her world, immersed in this hospitable natural environment and in the history of an ancient land. The family estate makes its living from cultivating the vineyards that go to make great Fossa Mala wines, and that surround, almost as if shielding them from the chaos of modernity, the Stables, the Cellars, the Restaurant, the Shop and the 15 agritourism rooms that allow the Villa’s guests to enjoy the peace and quiet of this magical place in the heart of Friuli.
The Villa Fossa Mala complex, formerly called Villa Bassi della Meduna, in style terms dates back the 16th/17th century. It’s typical enclosed courtyard structure symbolises the “villa civilisation” that brought beauty to the Veneto-Friuli countryside starting in around 1600. The nucleus of the “noble villa” is adorned by a majestic and centuries’ old “magnolia grandiflora”. Other signs of the Villa’s rural past are the drinking fountain, the cobblestone paving near the old stables, and the large arches on the first floor originally used as a hayloft.
Several sections of the ancient architectural structure reveal the pattern of alternating river stones and bricks, used in past centuries to construct the walls. The torrential nature of the rivers of the Grave del Friuli calms and quietens at the point where it encounters the Fiume Veneto plain where, over the millennia, the slow and abundant course of the waters replaced what had been violently swept away upstream, enriching our lands with silt and clay.
Fiume Veneto, 12 May 2003: the Fossa Mala project began here, a young idea in a very old land, and one that was unique in its kind for the Grave del Friuli DOC. Initially 6 hectares, it soon reached the current size of 30 hectares: continual growth desired by the Roncadin family with the aim of producing important and unique wines, capable of eliciting strong emotions. The setting that encompasses and represents this passion is as unique as the intended results: an ancient villa in the Fiume Veneto plain, keeping vigil over the surrounding vineyards, over man’s labour and the gentle alternating cycle of the seasons which, together, have made the Fossa Mala a great wine.
At the gates of Pordenone, the rich plain of Fiume Veneto, which cradles the Fossa Mala vineyards, enjoys an ideal microclimate, stretching between the sea and the mountains and thus protected by the Alps to the north, while reaping the benefits of the nearby Adriatic.
The Friuli plain extends along the foot of the alps, to the south of the morainic amphitheatre: protected by the mountains to the north, the plain quickly joins the Adriatic coast where it enjoys an ideal microclimate. Formed in the Quaternary era due to the combined action of glaciers and later of rivers, it is commonly distinguished by sizable piles of gravel and stones known as “Magredi” (meagre land). At Fiume Veneto, almost without warning, the torrential nature of the Grave rivers alters and its rhythm changes to a calm slowness, allowing the creation of a plain which is rich in silt and clay, a precious substance on which we have founded our very project.
Furrowed by the rivers Meduna, Noncello and Fiume and by many other rivulets which are testimony to the hydrological wealth of the area, we have been entrusted these lands to do great things with them.
Nature offers its potential, but what translates this into wine is our passion. It is the constant labour of man that leaves its enduring mark on this bountiful land and on the quality of its fruit. The desire to give a determining value to the element of human choice makes the work very rewarding, albeit very difficult. The Fossa Mala vineyard, compact and low-lying, has 7,850 vines per hectare on rootstock of average strength and chosen from native as well as international varieties, both from clonal and en masse selections. The wine cellar was devised according to modern criteria which fully exploit the year’s work in the vineyard. Here, selections are made with due respect for the raw materials, based on a production philosophy which is attentive to tradition but also leans towards the development of modern, refined wines. The materials which accompany the journey from must to wine are steel, with its functional neutrality, and wood, with its ancient and irreplaceable ability to perfect the mosaic. To this is added the skill and passion of our technicians, pursuing that single objective of quality which underpins the very Fossa Mala philosophy.
“A modern wine with ancient beginnings. Tradition for us has never been a barren nostalgia for the past, but rather a genuine basis for setting and achieving new targets with competence and innovation”.
Massimo Vidoni, winemaker
Fossa Mala has always paid specific attention to the environmental protection and has become a member of FRIEND OF THE EARTH. This project is rapidly growing as the leading international label for sustainable agriculture production and selects companies who are concerned about the following:
• wild flora and fauna protection on its site
• appropriate soil, water and energy management
• social accountability
In addition, Fossa Mala protects all natural ecosystems on its property, by means of reforestation and grassing. Solar panels - producing 380,000 kWh/year - have also been installed to increase the use of renewable energy.
Friend of the Earth was founded in 2013. Coming from the positive experience of the Friend of the Sea certification for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, Friend of the Earth works in more than 50 countries all over the world. The mission is to promote sustainable agricultural practices by means of certification and consumers awareness.