Tag Archives: colli

Ain’t no sunshine when they’re gone…(and Schiopettino galore)

Here’s the weather today, much like it has been since the Magnifici sei left on Saturday:

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I’ve written before of the “Friulian Gloom”, and this week we’re getting a little bit of it.

Last week, however, when the bloggers were here, this was the weather for FIVE STRAIGHT DAYS:

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Blue skies, warm days, chilly, star-filled nights. More than one producer asked if the bloggers could come back to Friuli in September, if this was the kind of weather they carried around in their luggage.

The week continued with what might have been the group’s most unanimously positive visit: Ronchi di Cialla. The Rapuzzi family single-handedly cultivate the only winery and vineyards in the Cialla subzone, specializing in native grapes, but most of all Schioppettino..

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(Jeremy sniffin’)
The ’05 started the tasting with red fruits, elegant balance, a hint of rust and a fresh apply finish…. the ’01 was almost smoky with a hint of charcoal, more bass notes, a little of that funk and silky Tannins… The ’95 was still fresh-colored with plenty of mineral and hints of warm orange peel, delicate and feminine with some spicy cherry on the finish… and then the ’85… all poise and balance, color almost indistinguishable from the 10-years-younger ’95… sexy texture on the palate with a long peppery finish. Awesome…

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See all thise  bottles up there with 13.5% and 12.5% on the labels? Well the exact opposite of Cialla is the Schioppettino from Moschioni…

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(That’s Nicolas, Francesco, Michele Moschioni and Dr J.)

Here are my notes from Moschioni’s ’06 Schioppettino: “16.4% alc., 20 days natural appassimento (drying grapes in shallow cassettes); big and rich, ripe nose, warm going down but not hot, very velvety tannins with cherry, licorice and pepper”… Maybe not as elegant as the Cialla wines, obviously very different, but I enjoyed both for what they were.

Later in the evening we had the privilege of eating at the Petrussa winery where we tried 3 vintages there: ’04, ’03 and ’99. I found these wines a bit of a synthesis of the Cialla and Moschioni wines: A little riper, fleshier and oakier than Cialla, but not as BIG as Moschioni. The ’04 was still very young, the ’03 had more leather and tertiary aromas, but “smoothed out and sexy” according to my notes, and the ’99 was lush with the epitome of “velvety tannins”.

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Finally, I’d like to mention some other Schioppettini that I liked from the large tasting: 2008 Giorgio Colutta, 2008 La Viarte, and the 2006 Dri-Il Roncat.

SO what’s the final word on Schioppettino? Like so many wines in Friuli and in COF, we have different interpretations, different points of view… But the key is that this native grape has been rescued from oblivion, extinction, literally… Thank goodness (and the Rapuzzi family, or the Nonino family.. or whatever)

What’s cool is that one of these Schioppettini will turn you on. If you’re into the big Cabs or you’re into fine Burgundy, somebody makes a Schioppettino you’ll like.

And that’s what will spur others into keeping these local grapes alive…

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COF2011: Tocai day, and discovering a neighbor…

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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.

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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?