Tocai Plus feeling the love… Blog-wise, and from the heart…

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I’ve just read the most incredible review of our beloved Tocai PLUS on Frederic Koeppel’s Bigger Than Your Head wine blog…

Bastianich Tocai Plus 2006: Lord Have Mercy!

My favorite part of the review says:

“When you smell and taste a great wine, you know it unmistakeably, though that doesn’t mean that it’s overpowering or blatant; rather, its greatness, in this case, lies in an essential gathering of nuance and subtle details.”… He went on to call the wine “Exceptional”…

Thanks so much Frederic for the “blog-love”!

Tocai Plus will simply be called “PLUS” after the ’06 vintage, due to the fact that the Friulani lost the EU battle to keep the name “Tocai”, awarded exclusively to the makers of dessert wines in Hungary. The ’06 is still available and still called Tocai Plus. It is a unique style of (Tocai) Friulano… 60-year-old Old vines already give very concentrated fruit. The vineyard’s perfect exposure ensures clean, full ripening almost every year, it’s high position on the first hills giving it exceptional cross-ventilation during summer, as the winds shift between the Adriatic Sea and the Carnian Alps… ButtrioPLAY2

We also do some appassimento on these grapes to even further concentrate and intensify…

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The purpose of Tocai Plus is to showcase the maximum potential of the Friulano grape variety, especially in this particular site. We wanted to see how far we could take Friulano, how intense we could make it, while always maintaining its balance.

The result is a small amount of labor-intensive (the dried Friulano is destemmed BY HAND) and very low production (no vine produces more than 1kg of grapes) wine for those who enjoy the intensity of great Alsatian whites or are looking for a white counterpart to Amarone…

It’s our labor of love… I remember when I worked in the cellar, the stainless steel tank where we fermented the PLUS was smaller than the other tanks, and wasn’t connected to the central cooling system in the winery… In order to control the temperature, you’d have to climb up and drop a thermometer inside the fermenting must for a couple minutes, and then read the result.. If things were a little too warm, you’d open a valve and cold water would begin to run down the outside of the tank for cooling.

After a while, I didn’t need to look at a thermometer, I could tell by feel if the fermentation was getting too warm… by placing my cheek against the outside of the tank… Every hour or so, and last thing before bed and first thing in the morning, I would hug the tank, press my cheek to the surface and take the baby’s temperature, a ritual that always got a laugh out of my wife each time we left or entered the winery…

Labor of love indeed.

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