Category Archives: Friuli

2014 Vintage in Friuli

When I visited Lis Neris winery in early June I asked the owner Alvaro Pecorari about the 2014 vintage in Friuli. He said we would have to wait and see what the weather conditions would be during the summer before he could give me am answer. A few days ago I received the answer to my question from him in an e-mail. This is what he said about the vintage.

Alvaro

Alvaro

We have to go back 18 years before we find another summer that was so cold and rainy. We have been experiencing weather more like areas further north than Friuli. In the last months we have been involved in vineyard operations generally associated with Burgundy and Champagne, like leaf thinning to let air and sun better reach the grape bunches and well as several pruning’s of the new vegetation, to maintain a more mature leaf pattern.

An older canopy training system does not force the vine to get even more water which it does not need. We worked really hard in the vineyard, both in terms of labor and means. However, the frequency of rain encouraged the main vine diseases and reduced the exposure of the vines to the sun. The resulting wines will have more acidity that is why there is no hurry to start the vintage. Those producers who decide to wait to harvest their grapes will benefit from every ray of sun,that will give taste and flavors to the grapes, which could increase the value of this difficult vintage.

 

 

 

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The Scarbolo Wines from Friuli at Felidia Restaurant

The Scarbolo winery is located in the town of Lauzacco, in Friuli on the right bank of the river Torre, just South of the Colli Orientali. Patricia Savoy, the co-chair of the Wine Media Guild had tasted the wines with Valter Scarbolo, the owner of the winery.  Pat suggested that the Scarbolo wines be included in the Friuli tasting along with the Bastianich wines. IMG_3031

Scarbolo Wines

Pinot Grigio 100% Pinot Grigio. There are 5,500 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. The grapes are hand harvested. There is a soft pressing of the grapes immediately after harvesting. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The juice is cooled and the wine is decanted naturally to remove any particles remaining from the fermentation. The wine is aged on the lees in stainless steel tanks for 6 months with frequent batonnage. $16

Friulano 100% Tocai Friulano. There are 5,700 vines per hectare and the training is guyot. Several hand harvests are conducted with a final late harvest of about 10%. Soft pressing of 60% of the whole grape clusters right after harvesting. 30% of the fruit is destemmed and left on the skins for a brief period of cold maceration. The remaining 10% is dried out and gently pressed. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine has nice fruit and a hint of almonds.$19

My Time 2007 made from 40% Chardonnay, 30% Sauvignon and 30 Friulano. The three different varieties are harvested at the same time at pressed together. After cold decantation the juice is transferred t0 500 liter French oak barrels for fermentation. The wine is aged on the noble lees for 1 year in 500 liter French oak barrels with frequent batonnages. The wine is then aged in stainless steel tanks for at least one year. The wine is bottled when it is “time” and aged in bottle for 4 months before release. $39IMG_3047

Pinot Grigio XL 2007 in magnum  100% Pinot Grigio. The grapes are from their oldest vineyard “Mattia”.   There are 5,500 vines per hectare and the training is guyot. There is a careful selection of ripe bunches. The fruit is destemmed and transferred to temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, where the juice ferments with the skins for 6 days. After a soft pressing a small portion completes fermentation in 500 liter French oak barrels while the remaining juice stays in stainless steel. The wine is aged 9 months on its noble lees in stainless steel and tonneaux with frequent batonnages. The wine is aged in bottle for six months before release. The wine has good fruit with a hint of strawberry and apple. The 750 size is $25 a bottle.IMG_3037

Campo del Votto 2009 made from 100% Merlot.  This is a single vineyard wine made only in select years. There are 6,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot, harvesting is by hand and there are two separate harvests. The first whole clusters harvested are dried out for about 20 days, destemmed and transferred to small oak barrels for fermentation. The whole clusters from the second harvest are immediately destemmed and placed in small oak barrels for fermentation. There is frequent manual punch down of the cap. After fermentation the barrels are sealed and the wine remains in contact with the skin until mid December. The wine is aged in barriques for 2 years and then in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of ripe berries, with hints of chocolate and tobacco. $40IMG_3038

Refosco 100% Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. There are 5,800 plants per hectare and the grapes are handed harvested, destemmed, and placed in stainless steel tanks with large bases to promote extraction of color and sweet tannins through frequent pumping down. After fermentation the wine remains in contact with the skins for a few weeks. The wine is aged in French oak barrels of different sizes for three years and another 6 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with good fruit, hints of plums and a touch of spice $40

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Wines of Friuli at Felidia Restaurant

The Wine Media Guild has been holding its tastings and lunches at Felidia Restaurant for almost twenty years. At this season’s final tasting on May 1, the subject was the wines of Friuli.  Wines from 3 wineries were presented.  Lidia Maticchio Bastianich, proprietor of Felidia, and her son Joseph own the Bastianich Winery. Lidia stopped by to introduce her wines. She answered questions about the winery and told us how she became involved in the restaurant business. She said that her son was the driving force behind the winery and was very proud of the wines.

Peppino has been serving the Wine Media Guild at Felidia for 20 years

Peppino has been serving the Wine Media Guild at Felidia for 20 years

The Bastianich WinesIMG_3052

 Vespa (Wasp in Italian) Bianco 2010 DOC is made from a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10%Picolit (late harvest). The percentage changes according to the vintage and it is a field blend. The vineyards are located in the villages of Buttrio and Premariacco, in the Colli Orientali delFriuli DOC. There are 8,500 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are vinified separately, 50% in 4,000 liter oak botti and 50% in stainless steel. The Picolit ferments in 500 liter tonneaux. 60% of the wine undergoes malolatic fermentation. The wines remain on the lees for almost one year. The assemblage in aged in bottle for an additional year before release. This is an elegant wine with ripe pear aroma and flavor, a hint of honey and citrus, and good acidity

Vespa Bianco 2007 in Magnum this wine has aromas and flavors of mature pear and greater depth than the 2010. It was showing no signs of age. IMG_3049

Tocai Plus 2008 DOC Is 100% Friulano (Tocai) 90% is late harvest and 10% appassimento (dried grapes). The grapes come from a single vineyard of 60-year-old vines. The soil is calcareous marl. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and 60% of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. The wine remains on the lees for 9 months and in bottle for one year before release. It has hints of candied orange peel, pear and melon with a nice finish and long aftertaste.

Vespa Rosso 2009 DOC 50% Merlot, 30% Refosco, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. There are 5,000 to 8,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The wine is made by fermenting and macerating each variety individually in open-topped, 500 liter tonneaux barrels. The punch down is done by hand for the softest possible extraction. A vertical press is used which extracts softer tannins, as there is less skin-against–skin friction. The wine is aged for 18 months in Allier barriques and another year in barrel before release. This is a structured fruit forward wine with a hint of spice.

Vespa Rosso 2002 This wine is still fruit forward and has developed more complex flavors and aromas. It is showing no signs of age.IMG_3036

Calabrone 2008 70% Refosco, 10% Schioppettino, 10% Pignolo and 10% Merlot. There are 6,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. 50% of the Refosco and all of the Schioppettino grapes are dried for four weeks. The dried clusters are then de-stemmed by hand and gently crushed. Fermentation and maceration take place in open-topped 500-liter tonnaux barrels. The punch down is done by hand for the softest possible extraction. In is interesting to note that they use a vertical wooden press. After 24 months in new Allier barriques the assemblage is created. The wine is aged for 2 years in bottle before release. This is a big wine, with mature red fruit with hints of chocolate, coffee and spice.

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ZUANI

It is very unusual to discover a winery that produces only two wines–both from the same white grapes.  The name of this unique winery is Zuani. Patrizia Felluga, the daughter of the legendary producer, Marco Felluga, is the owner.  I met Patrizia a few years ago when I was working as a sommelier and though I liked her wines, I did not know much about the winery.
A few months ago Patrizia’s children Antonio and Caterina invited me to lunch to taste their new vintages and to tell me about the winery.  They said that they and their mother had looked for many years to find the perfect vineyard site.  Finally in 2001 they found a 30-acre vineyard whose soil and climate along with the grape varieties would produce a wine, as Antonio put it, “similar to a cru.”

Antonio, Caterina and Patrizia

Caterina said that it is named Zuani because of a geographic name found on an ancient map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The estate is set in the hills of Giasbana in the municipality of San Fioriano del Collio – also known as Collio Goriziano.

Antonio told me that the vineyards, all sustainably maintained, are situated on a medium to steep slope with marl and mineral soil.  This mineral rich but poor soil produces well structured age-worthy wines.  Collio’s mild climate and proximity to both the Adriatic Sea and the Alps create a vast difference in the nighttime and day temperatures allowing for a long ripening season.

Friuli is a region that is known for its single variety wines, but at Zuani they created a blend from indigenous Friulano grapes plus international ones, which they feel thrive in this region.  Antonio made it clear that their winery was the first in the region to follow the “cru” concept.  All of the grapes come from a single vineyard, where Friulano, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon thrive.

The Wines

Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco  DOC 2011
2009 and 2007 made from Friulano, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc. The percentage of each variety depends on the vintage. Each variety is vinified separately. Cold maceration takes place and fermentation is in stainless steel vats. The wine matures in stainless steel vats until it is ready to be bottled. This is a soft but complex wine with nice fruit, mineral notes and good acidity. It has a long finish and a pleasing aftertaste.  I liked all three vintages. The 2011 needed more but the 2009 and 2007 were drinking very well. $22
Zuani Zuani Collio Bianco Riserva 2010
2009 and 2008 Grapes- same as above. Cold maceration is followed by maturing in small new French oak barrels with the daily stirring of the lees in the beginning and then weekly. The main difference in the two wines is the grapes for the Zuani Zuani are picked later and it is aged in wood. This gives the wine more concentrated flavors, with hints of citrus fruit, a touch of vanilla and a roundness and fullness that results in a very long finish and lingering aftertaste. This is a white wine that can age. At the lunch, the 2009 was showing the best. $30

It is also very rare these days when one can taste a wine and say it must be from a certain region.  Tasting and drinking these wines I knew that they were from Friuli!

 

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Filed under Collio Goriziano, Friuli, Italian White Wine, Zuani