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domenica 6 febbraio 2011

Welcome to Friuli!

Il Roncal, view from my window...

Arriving in Friuli Sunday was quite a relief after a very long series of flights that left me exhausted and close to hallucination.  After getting picked up at Marco Polo airport in Venice, We made a breathtaking entrance into the Agriturismo Il Roncal in Cividale del Friuli.  As we stroll up the narrow driveway Do Bianchi says casually, ''This is your guys place!''  What an honor to stay here in the hands of the Colli Orientali Del Friuli.  Such nice people.  It was a trip to meet all of the bloggers as well, who I have been sharing comments with online and reading their blogs over the past months.  They are all awesome and I'm psyched to be tasting with them on these Friulian adventures.

Our welcome toast with an Il Roncal Spumante and some crispy friulian Fricco.

When Jeremy first proposed this trip to me a couple months back it instantly made perfect sense for me.  After traveling northern Italy a couple years ago and tasting heaps of delicious white wines that I never knew existed I wondered...what are we missing in the States?  When I returned and looked in numerous shops online and around my home town in western Massachusetts I came up not only empty handed...but a little empty hearted.  Working 7 months this summer in a Relais & Chateaux with a 21,000 bottle wine cellar and an Italian white wine selection of around 12 bottles (more than half of which are Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige) I was more than happy to take on this project.  Every time I give someone a taste of a ''different'' Italian white wine that their palate is not used to, they always end up surprised and excited to drink it.  So what should we do here to improve the communications and promotion of these great Friulian wines?  This is what we talked about over our first dinner in Friuli with the consorzio tonight.  This next week we will be doing 2 winery visits a day along with a ''light'' lunch and dinner while sharing thoughts and ideas.

Not a true Friulian dining experience without the classic Prosciutto di San Daniele.
a 2006 Refosco by Le Vigne Di Zamo, which was a hotter year and brought a higher alcohol (14%) and lower acidity wine.
New to me was this typical dolce friulano called ''Gubana'' (a sugared bread with dried fruit) this one served with a type of zabaglione, earlier for lunch we had it drizzled with grappa!

 Above we were served this La Viarte ''Sium'' 2006 (Sium, meaning dream in the Friulian language) with the Gubana.  A COF Dolce DOC, can be made by vinification of one or more of the white Friulian varieties.  This one is made with Picolit and Verduzzo Friulano.  12% vol, not too sweet and lip smacking good with the Gubana.

 The President of the consorzio Pierluigi Comelli repeated a few times making sure we understood the importance of the Friulian culture, gastronomy and even the dialect (refering to it as a language and not a dialect) all together as a whole that make the wines what they are.  There was even a Friulian poem by Pasolini recited and then translated to english by Jeremy!  Check out the video that should be posted soon by Alfonso...

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