This was the scene yesterday for the first day of tastings at the the Colli Orientali Consorzio and the COF2011 blogger gathering. That’s Alfonso, Nicolas, Jeremy, McDuff and Samantha working their way through no less than 42 different (Tocai) Friulani…
Most of the wines came from the 2009 vintage, and it was good to see a consistancy of quality from that vintage. Styles were slightly varied (from zingy Ronco delle Betulle and Ermacora) to the yeasty (Rocca Bernarda) that really seemed to float Samantha’s Champagne-lovin’ boat.
Others I really liked were from Grillo, Conte D’Attimis and Borgo Judrio.
This is a real learning experience for me. Getting to sit down and see what other great producers are doing with Friulano, and being able to taste our Friulano with them (even if not blind) is something I think many producers DON’T do and really SHOULD. It’s an eye-opener.
I can’t really compare the ’07 PLUS we tasted with yesterday’s group. Plus is in a class by itself, in a stylistic sense, and its massive richness and mature fruit stands apart (purposely) from the more traditional Friulani.
Our Adriatico Friulano came at the end of the tasting and it made me realize that the style for that wine is also slightly richer and fatter than your average Friulano. Our philosophy is to give the wine more depth and feel, rather than zing. It’s nice to see how balanced the Adriatico Friulano is in spite of being a little rounder and fuller.
Finally, the afternoon’s visits brought me to an new winery I’d never heard of before (in spite of my living here for almost 10 years now).
I Clivi is a very interesting property run by Mario Zanussi (second from left below). Organic vineyards, all stainless steel (for whites) and some very interesting wines. Laser-beam focused and austere, the wines took me a moment to understand. We only tasted recent vintages, and due to the tightly-wound style of these wines, I would expect them to open up with time.
There was one wine they make that reminded me of Vespa Bianco, but chalkier and more austere, called Bianco degli Arzilliari… Chardonnay and Sauvignon (like Vespa Bianco) but with Traminer instead of Picolit. It was more complete and rounder than their Friulani, with a little bit of warmth and a hint of that traminer spice.
It’s a pleasure to discover new neighbors and new wines. Now that these wines are on my radar, I look forward to trying them again… Maybe a little head-to-head with Vespa Bianco?