A Night at the Serenissima

I Shared the dais with five MONSTERS of Friulian wine last night at the Serenissma Enoteca in Gradisca d’Isonzo. It was a night of “3 bicchieri” and “5 Grappoli” wines, the second in a series of eight outstanding (and really affordable) tastings organized by AIS and the Enoteca.

Three of the six wines came from our beloved COF: Alessandro Zorzettig spoke about the lovely 2009 Biancosesto from La Tunella.  Alessandro Dorigo spoke passionately and precisely about Volpe Pasini and his double-award winning ’09 Zuc di Volpe Sauvignon, and I was there with Bastianich.

Representin’ Collio, Damian Princic from Colle Duga deftly explained the beauty of his terroir and it’s effect on his truly stunning ’09 Friulano. Fabio Coser give his entire viticultural history as we tasted his ’09 Fosarin from Ronco dei Tassi.

The Man of the evening for me, though, goes to the mustachioed Sandro Princic who presented his ’09 Malvasia. He’s obviously not comfortable in front of an audience, but his honesty and humility made me appreciate the wine and his hard work all the more. I had no idea his father (“Doro” Princic, whose name adorns the label and azienda) was one of the first producers in Friuli to put wines in bottle wines back in the 1950’s (which is ANCIENT history in Friuli). I also learned (but I kinda knew) that Sandro’s wife Grazia is a killer cook and their hospitality is famosissimo.

I was the last to go, presenting the only red wine of the evening, the “5 grappoli”-winning Calabrone 2006… I opened with my standard battuta, “I hope you all will be able to understand me in spite of my thick Neopolitan accent.” They always love that one.

I’ve written about Calabrone here, so I won’t rehash its story, but I will say that ’06 was a special year for Calabrone as it was the first year we used 70% Refosco (half of that was dried for a month) 10% Pignolo, 10% Merlot and 10% of dried Schioppettino.

The wine showed beautifully… Ciliegie sotto spirito and cocoa… Velvety tannins and almost apple-fresh finish…

It’s especially nice when you actually feel the people appreciating the wine. The house was packed, but I could hear reactions and see stunned faces from my place at the front of the room. It’s really gratifying to present a wine like Calabrone to people… and really frustrating because the ’06 is practically ALL GONE. People came up to me after the tasting lamenting the fact that they can’t find the wine anywhere and wanted to know if they could get it at the winery. I had to disappoint them, but..

Don’t worry, the ’07 is even better…


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