Tag Archives: plus

European Wine Bloggers Conference (and WiseQueen) @ Bastianich!

Last week I had the pleasure of attending my second European Wine Bloggers Conference (ewbc) in Brescia. Two days of great talks and seminars, tastings and dinners with wines from Franciacorta to Chile, and LOTS of camaraderie between bloggers from 34 different nations!

As usual, there was a serie of post-trips, and one of them came to Friuli for 3 days to experience what makes this place so special for producing world-class wines. Day 3 of that tour brought the group to the Bastianich vineyards in Buttrio/Premariacco and then for a quick tasting of 4 wines (’09 Adriatico Friulano, ’09 Vespa Bianco, ’07 Plus and ’07 Calabrone) at the winery…

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I truly appreciated the time and attention everyone paid to me while I told a little bit of our story here…

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I’d like to personally thank all the great people I met and hung out with at the conference and those nice enough to come and visit us at Bastianich. I wish I had the time and the energy to list your names here, but you are all on the EWBC list on Facebook, and if I remember you, I have “friended” you there…

Also, on Sunday, I drove, hungover and somewhat tired, from Brescia with my dear friend and blogger Sabina Maffei (If you read Italian, please read Sabina’s brilliant blog HERE) and another well-known blogger, Donna Jackson aka “WiseQueen”. Donna was slated to come on the Friuli trip, but realized she had schedule conflicts at the last minute. She asked if we could do Sunday, and even though I was NOT in TipTop shape, I managed to get her here and give her a taste of Friuli, first at Buttrio’s Trattoria Al Parco (where we were treated to a full tasting of Meroi wines), and then on to the cantina in Cividale…

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(Wisequeen and I tasting Vespa Bianco and Plus at the Foresteria)

At Valentino Butussi, I was really starting to fade fast. My Red Bull had worn off and all I could think about was sleeping. But we tasted a couple wines instead…

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Filippo (whose blog you can read HERE) took Donna out to dinner as I retreated home…

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Lovely Day in the PLUS Vineyard

I just wanted to share a couple shots I took recently in the Plus vineyard just at budbreak, a day or 2 before VinItaly. I was a wonderful day and these photos came out so well… CIMG1426

In these you really get an idea of the altitiude and position of these vines and how they get sun and air all day for perfect ripening and clean fruit… CIMG1428
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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.