Category Archives: Livio Felluga

Milan to Venice: Eating and Drinking

For many years on and off, I had gone to Vinitaly, the wine fair in Verona, though eight years had passed since the last time. This year, Nicole and Travis, owners of Turtledove wine store in Manhattan were going and wanted to know if Michele and I would like to go with them. Michele said no, but I said yes. The trip turned out to be more about eating and drinking than about the wine fair.IMG_7527

I arrived in Milan to very nice weather and joined Travis and Nicole for lunch at Bacaro del Sambuco, Via Montenapoleone 13. This is the most fashionable street in Milan and the restaurant is open only for lunch Monday to Friday. The afternoon was warm and we sat outside in the lovely garden. Most of the customers were stylishly dressed women that had stopped in after a morning of shopping.IMG_7531

I had an excellent lemon pappardelle with anchovies followed by one of my favorites, langoustine. We drank a Franciacorta metodo classico spumante.

That night we went to Trattoria Milanese, Via Santa Marta 11. Michele and I had eaten here a number of years ago when she was doing an article for the Wine Spectator. She still talks about the risotto.IMG_7533

This time we started with an assortment of salumi with bresaola and lardo. I had cotechino with mashed potatoes and lentils.IMG_7534

I tried to order the risotto but the waiter said it was too much food! For dessert I had the fragolini del bosco with gelato.

Milan to Bardolino

Traverna Kus di Zanolli Giancarlo in San Zeno di Montagna, Contrada Castello 14. Michele and I had been here for lunch in May and the restaurant was crowded. We liked it so much that I decided to come back.IMG_7583

The restaurant is in on the ground floor of a restored 17th century farmhouse. There are three interior rooms, a glass enclosed veranda and outside tables for summer dining. We sat in the veranda.IMG_7584

This time we were the only customers. I started with culatello with mostarda,IMG_7587

then ravioli stuffed with asparagus and then a selection of cheese with more mostarda.IMG_7589

For dessert I had a Millefoglie Vite.

With the meal we drank Terre Alte Collio Orientali del Friuli  2012 Livio Felluga a blend of estate grown grapes: Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards in the Rosazzo zone. The soil is marl and sandstone and the training system is guyot. The bunches of grapes are carefully destemmed and left to macerate for a short period of time before crushing. The must is then allowed to settle.IMG_7585

Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small casks of French (no new oak is used) oak. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon mature in stainless steel tanks. After aging for ten months the wines are blended. The bottled wine is aged in temperature controlled binning cellars for 9 months before release. The wine has a touch of sage, hints of pear, peach and fresh almonds.IMG_7586

Schioppettino di Cialla 2007 Ronchi di Cialla (Friuli) 100% Schioppettino. The 1-hectare vineyard is at 165-180 meters with a south/southeast exposure. The wine ages for four years, 14 to 18 months in barrel and 30 to 36 months in bottle before it is released. This was one of my favorite wines but I have not had it in a long time so I had to order it. It was as I remembered it, hints of dark black fruit, spice, white pepper and a touch of leather. It can age for 20 years or more 

Antica Locanda Mincio, Via Buonarroti 12- 37067 Valeggio sul Mincio. This is one of Michele’s favorite outdoor places for lunch, sitting at a table overlooking the Mincio River and the medieval village. This time I sat inside because we had dinner and it was March. The dining room has a large fireplace and colorful mural on the walls, which creates a medieval atmosphere.IMG_7551

We started with Bresaola and I had Polenta with Salame, which I have every time I come here, followed by a specialty of the region tortelli di zucca and another favorite stinco di maiale, roasted pork shank.IMG_7549

We drank a Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2005 from E. Valentino 100% Trebbiano. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonian oak for 24 months. This was a very complex full wine with a mineral character, hints of citrus fruit and apple, good acidity, great finish and aftertaste with that extra something that is difficult to describe.

Ristorante Piccolo Doge, Via Santa Cristina 46, Bardolino.

When Michele and I were on Lake Garda last year, we passed this restaurant several times on the way into Bardolino. From the outside it looked a little overdone with lights and Venetian trappings, so we never stopped there. This time the restaurant I had planned to go to was booked, so the receptionist at our hotel suggested it. It was a good choice since the food was excellent as was the service. There is an outdoor patio for summer dining overlooking the lake, which I imagine would be very pleasant.

I started with a warm octopus salad with potatoes and olives. The octopus was cooked just right.IMG_7578

Bigoli, a kind of thick spaghetti with sardines Venetian-style followed and I could not resist the grilled white fish from Lake Garda. For dessert, there was a delicious cake with pine nuts.

Since we were having fish we ordered sparkling wine.IMG_7577

Ferrari Perlé 2007 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand in the middle of September from a hillside owned by the Lunelli family around the Trento vineyards. The vineyards are 300 to 700 meters above sea level with a southeasterly or southwesterly exposure. The wine remains for about 5 years on the lees. It is a crisp dry wine with hints of apple, almonds and a touch of toast.IMG_7576

To our surprise there was a Moèt and Chandon Cuvèe Dom Pèrignon 2003 on the wine list for less money than it would sell for retail in NYC. It is made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. We ordered it and it was wonderful and could last for another 15 years.

On our way from Bardolino to Venice we stopped for lunch at Le Calandre in Rubino. They have a choice of three tasting menus, we ordered the Tinto, the spring tasting menu, which was very elaborate.

With all this food we had to have wine:IMG_7603

Champagne “Substance” Brut Jacques Selosse

We started with Champagne “Substance” 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Jacques Selosse. Low yields; organic viniculture and terroir are a hallmark of Mr. Selosse’s wines. He has all Grand Cru holdings in Avize, Cramant and Oger. He uses indigenous yeasts for fermentation and ages the wine in barrels, 20% new oak. The wine is left on the fine lees for an extended period. Dosage is kept to an absolute minimum. “Substance” is a solar Champagne created by Mr. Selosse in 1986, by marrying some 20 vintages in order to avoid vintage variation and allowing the terroir to speak on its own. This is full-bodied Champagne with good fruit, hints of orange peel and spice with good minerality.IMG_7604

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo DOC 2003 100% E Valentini The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 12 months. There was nice fruit, good minerality and just a touch of strawberry in the wine but that may be the only thing it has in common with other rose wines. It has a great finish and lingering aftertaste.IMG_7607

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2002 Emidio Pepe

The Emidio Pepe winery is both organic and biodynamic. The winery belongs to the Triple “A”– Agriculturists Artisans Artists–an association of wine producers from around the world that believes in organic and bio-dynamic production, terroir, and as little interference as possible by the winemaker in the winemaking process. In their vineyard only sulphur and copper water are used along with biodynamic preparations. Only natural yeast is used which gives the wine more complexity because there are so many different strains of yeast on the grapes and in the air. The grapes are crushed by hand. No sulfites are added to the wine. The juice is placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25hl where the wine remains for two years. The wine is then transferred to bottles by hand.IMG_7605

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1994 Soldera 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Only grapes from the Casa Base Estate are used. The vineyard is at 320 meters and the exposure is southwest. Natural fermentation is carried out in Slovenian oak casks. There is no temperature control and no artificial yeast is added. Pumping over takes place and frequent tastings take place. The wine can remain up to five years in Slovenian oak casks. 1994 was not a great year for Brunello but this wine was showing very well with

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Filed under Dom Perignon, Emidio Pepe, Ferrari, Italian Red Wine, Italian Sparkling Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Jacques Selosse - Susbstance, Le Calandre restaurant, Livio Felluga, Restaurant Bacaro del Sambuco, Ristorante Piccolo Doge, Ronchi di Cialla- Schioppettino, Soldera, Taverna Kus, Terre Alte, Trattoria Milanese, Uncategorized, Valentini

Livio Felluga’s “TERRE ALTE”

Terre Alte from Livio Felluga has been a favorite of mine since I first tasted it in the early 1980’s. It is a wine that I describe as seductive and without a doubt one of the best white wines produced in Italy.IMG_5389

Recently, I was invited to attend a vertical tasting of Terre Alte going back to 1997 featuring Andrea Felluga as the speaker. I have known Andrea Felluga since 1994 when I visited the winery. That was also the year that Livio, Andrea’s father handed over the winemaking duties to him.

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Andrea Felluga

Andrea began by speaking about the history of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and of his family.  Andrea said that his father was born in 1914 when the area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He explained how the shifting borders after WWI and WWII caused many problems. His family lost everything after WWII but Livio was able to remain on the Italian side of the border and start his winery. Livio is now 100 years old.

Andrea told us that the “Map Label” on the wines was introduced in 1956 as a way for his father to pay tribute to the land and culture of Friuli. He described Terre Alte as an elegant, complex and “captivating” wine. Terre Alte in Italian means high ground.IMG_5376

Terre Alte Collio Orientali del Friuli is a blend of estate grown grapes: Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards in the Rosazzo zone. The soil is marl and sandstone and the training system is guyot. The bunches of grapes are carefully destemmed and left to macerate for a short period of time. Then the grapes were crushed. The must is then allowed to settle. Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small casks of French (no new oak is used) oak. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon matures in stainless steel tanks. After aging for ten months the wines are blended. The bottled wine is aged in temperature controlled binning cellars for 9 months before release. Andrea said that depending on the vintage one of the three grapes would assert itself.

If Sauvignon Blanc dominates, the wine will have hints of sage, and grapefruit. In other vintages the Friulano prevails with notes of pear, peach and fresh almonds.

There were also times when the floral notes of the Pinot Bianco took over and hints of orange blossoms and yeast stood out in the bouquet.

Andrea said that freshness is a key attribute. Terre Alte expresses a unique composition of aromas, depending on its age, and either floral or fruity fragrances with notes of pastry and bread. For the more mature vintages straw and dried flowers can be present. The first vintage of Terre Alte was in 1981.IMG_5378

The Terre Alte Vertical

2012 DOCG $80 This is a very young wine and needs time to develop

2011 DOCG $80 Andrea did not think that this bottle was showing well and he said that it had notes of garlic. We tried another bottle and it was fine but it needs more time.

2009 DOC $160 Very balanced wine with ripe fruit, a touch of ginger, a great finish and wonderful aftertaste.IMG_5384

2008 DOC In this vintage the Friulano prevailed with the notes of pear, peach and fresh almonds. Sold out.

2006 DOC This vintage was the most Sauvignon in character with aromas of sage and grapefruit and a touch of grass. Andrea said this was because it was a cool vintage and there was less skin contact. $180

2001 DOC The blend this year was 30% Tocai Friulano, 30% Pinot Bianco and 40% Sauvignon. Sold out. This was one of my favorites with just a hint of the Sauvignon showing through. 750 is sold out but there is a magnum for $645

1998 DOC Sold out of 750 but there is a Magnum at $720

This was my favorite wine of the tasting. Very well balanced, great depth of flavor, and very elegant. This is where the Pinot Bianco may have dominated with hints of orange blossoms and a touch of yeast.

1997 DOC Sold out of 750 but a there is a 3L at $1,650 This wine was beginning to show a little age, but still drinking very well,with hints of herbs, honey rosemary and nice fruit.

Even though the Terre Alte may differ slightly vintage to vintage it still can be recognized as Terre Alte by its depth of flavor complexity and elegance.

 

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Filed under Andrea Felluga, Italian White Wine, Livio Felluga, Terre Alte

Tasting the Wines of Livio Felluga at Eataly in NYC

On our first visit to Friuli-Venezia- Giulia, Michele and I had the good fortune to stay at the Livio Felluga winery.  We stayed in beautiful guesthouse in the middle of the vineyard. Every morning, a woman would arrive to make breakfast. Michele mentioned that she liked fresh fruit and from then on there was fresh fruit. The members of the Felluga family could not have been nicer.  They helped us to plan an itinerary and wherever we went to dine, one or another of the members of the family would show up to see if we were all right. They did not get many visitors from America in those days.

The highlight of the visit was meeting Livio Felluga who was 79 at the time. He invited us to take a tour of the vineyards in his car, which I believe was a Jeep.   Michele sat in the front and I sat in the back.  As I recall, he never went under 80 miles an hour as we travelled over hills and along dirt tracks. Whenever we hit a bump, I felt as if I was flying through the vineyards!  All the time he was driving Livio talked about the vineyards and his wine.  It was the most exciting vineyard tour I was ever on! Today Livio is close to 100 years old.

Andrea Felluga

Over the years I have been a big fan of the wines of Livio Felluga and so, when I heard that his son Andrea Felluga was doing a tasting of their wines at Eataly, I just had to go.

Andrea began by speaking about the history of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and of his family.  Andrea said that his  father was born in 1914 when the area was part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. He explained how the shifting borders after WWI and WWII caused many problems. His family lost everything after WWII but Livio was able to remain on the Italian side of the border and start his winery.

The Wines of Livio Felluga

Pinot Grigio DOC 2010 100% Pinot Grigio.  Very ripe grapes are hand picked and destemmed and left to macerate for a short period before being soft crushed. After settling the must ferments in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. 30% to 40% of the wine undergoes malolatic fermentation and it remains on the lees for 4 months. Andrea said the wines had aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, honey, and white peach with a nice mineral note on the finish. $25

Friulano DOC 2010 100% Friulano (formerly known as Tocai)  This wine is made in the same way as the Pinot Grigio, though the Pinot Grigio grapes are picked about 10 days before the Friulano. This wine had a grassy note to it with flavors and aromas of apple and citrus, good acidity and a touch of almond in the finish.$28

Both of these wines have the now famous “Map Label.”  Andrea said that when they first produced wine Friuli-Venezia-Giulia was not a region that was well know and his father put the map of the area on the bottle so every one would know where the wine came from.

Abbazia Di Rosazzo  Colli Orientali  del Friuli DOC 2009 Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon, Malvasia,Friulano and Ribolla Gialla the grapes for this wine come from the vineyards of the Abbazia Di Rosazzo. The grapes are destemmed and left to cold macerate before they are soft crushed. Then the must is cleared by allowing it to settle.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with yeasts selected in Friuli. After 3 days, the wine is racked into oak casks where alcoholic and malolatic fermentation is completed. The wine is then aged in 5hl oak casks. This is a big, complex wine with rich fruit aromas and flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

Terre Altre DOC  Collis Orientali del Friuli DOCG 2009 Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon.   After destemming, the grapes are macerated for a short time. The grapes are soft crushed and then the must rests. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 10 months. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small French oak casks. After 10 months, the wines are blended and the bottled wine rests in binning cellars for about 9 months.  I have been drinking this wine since the 1980’s. This is an elegant and complex wine. Andrea described it as “captivating”.   I think it is a seductive wine. It is without a doubt one of the best white wines made in Italy. $65

Vertigo Venezia Gulia IGT 2009 made from 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are carefully destemmed and then crushed. Fermentation is carried out with maceration on the skins at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The juice is pumped over frequently for about four weeks, to extract color and aroma from the skins. The wine is aged for 12 months is stainless steel and small French oak barrels. Andrea said they were not new. After bottling the wine rests for at least 4 months before release. This is an intense, fruit forward wine with aromas and flavors of black cherry and spice. $60

Sossó  Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC 2006 made from Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Merlot and Pignolo. The grapes are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation is carried out with maceration on the skins at controlled temperatures in stainless steel. The juice is pumped over frequently for about three weeks. The wines are blended and racked into barriques–1/3 new– where they mature for 18 months. After bottling, the wine rests for a minimum of 12 months before release. This was the most international in style of the wines that we tasted. It is a big complex wine with aromas and flavors of cherry and ripe plums and hints of vanilla and oak. $65

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Filed under Abbazia di Rosazzo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Livio Felluga, Terre Altre