Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 16, 2012

Ronco ‘n’ Roll: Summing up COF 2012 by By George

By By George.

Ballroom dancing driver of the week

Our twinkle-toed driver Fulvio Settomini.

FBI Special Agent partner of the week

Chris Reid is probably the least likely among us ever to be arrested by the FBI.

Most impeccable taste in birds

Talia, according to Elaine, “she has impeccable taste in birds”. Not something that can be said of me… (Note to US readers: “bird” is English slang for “woman”.)

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Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 16, 2012

A Ribolla Revelation by Brunellos Have More Fun

Above: Mario Zanusso of I Clivi.

By Brunellos Have More Fun.

i Clivi. The Ribolla pot of gold at the end of the Friuli wine rainbow. Or something like that.

I really REALLY like the wines from i Clivi. Point blank period. End of blog post.

I kid! So, we visited the Zanusso men (dad Ferdinando and son Mario) at their winery in Corno di Rosazzo about half way through our week long trip. We arrived on a drizzly, grey day. It was quiet and calm- peaceful, not gloomy. It felt like an oasis, the eye of the storm of a get in the van, consume lots of information and wine and go mindset. Time slowed down. The week was by no means strenuous or tedious, but the energy here just felt different. And the wines did too.

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Click image to enlarge.

By Hawk Wakawaka.

Grapes of Colli Orientali del Friuli

The earth of appellation of Colli Orientali del Friuli, along the Slovenian border of Italy, hosts a mineral rich marl that is unique not only because of its blue color (all except in one part of the appellation where it is red), but also because of its high calcium content. The soil offers a rich minerality to the wines of the region that often shows as either a faintly salty quality, or a precise and dry slate.

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Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 13, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things in Friuli – Part 2

By JC Reid.

I just returned from Italy and I’m still processing all the wines, foods, conversations and experiences that flowed from the COF2012 project. In a previous post, I cataloged my most memorable experiences in the first half of our trip. And by experiences, I’m not only referring to the wines – the obvious reason for why we were there – but also to the tastes, sights and sounds of the Colli Orientali del Friuli region (COF).

Like all of Italy, this experience was a holistic affair – a cascade of sensory information from the sight of patterned vineyards to the touch of warm-cool microclimates that change from hill and valley to the lingering scent of grape must and the sound of wind through the trees of the northern-most hills of Ramandolo. And, of course, the taste of wine, lots of wine.

Here are a few of my most memorable experiences from the second half of our trip.

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Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 12, 2012

For the Friends: Wonderful Wines with Specogna and Toblar

Click image to enlarge.

By Hawk Wakawaka.

We were lucky enough to share dinner with the Specogna family. They were so generous as to pull two different wines right from the barrel for us–a Picolit we closed dinner with (something sweet for last), and a Pinot Grigio Ramato that had been on skins for a month (it is a wine “For Friends”, as Christian told us. How lucky to have such friends! I count myself truly blessed.).

With the meal we tasted through a good portion of the Specogna portfolio, including the father’s 1998 Chardonnay that showed incredible life and richness–flavors of almond, lime zest and light pepper. A real treat.

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By Hawk Wakawaka.

Can I just go ahead and say the things we’re not supposed to say after trips like this–a week long tour of Colli Orientali del Friuli with the #cof2012 group?

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Click image to enlarge.

By Hawk Wakawaka.

The History of Ronchi di Cialla

Beginning their winery in 1970, Paolo and Dina Rapuzzi dedicated their work to indigenous vines. Doing so was no easy task, however, as at that time many of the vines had been lost due to the introduction of Bordeaux varieties following the phylloxera epidemic. The Rapuzzis pursued their passion anyway and succeeded in not only establishing an indigenous variety-only winery, but also in saving some of the local grape types for the region.

As their son Ivan explains, Friuli is one of the places in Europe with the greatest biodiversity as it sits where the Alps intersect the Balkans and the Mediterranean via the Adriatic.

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Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 10, 2012

The Friuli 411 by Brunellos Have More Fun

By Brunellos Have More Fun.

So everyone reading knows by now that I’ve been in Colli Orientali del Friuli for the past week exploring the region and it’s wine (and food!) Let’s deviate from the wine talk for a hot minute and get the lowdown and run around on Friuli-Venezia Giulia. My fellow COF2012 blogger Wakawaka drew up this very handy map for us all.

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Posted by: Do Bianchi | April 10, 2012

Schioppettino the next big thing? By Do Bianchi #cof2012

Above: The folks at Ronco del Gnemiz hosted a vertical tasting of Schioppettino — stretching back to to 1989 — for the COF2012 bloggers last week. The township of San Giovanni al Natisone (where their property is located) is not the historical epicenter of the variety. But when current owner Serena’s father bought the estate in the 1950s, there were Schioppettino vines growing there — an indication of its popularity in another era. They still make one botte (large cask) of Schioppettino every year.

By Do Bianchi.

Anglophones love to say Schioppettino (here’s the entry for Schioppettino in the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project). Perhaps it’s because of the variety’s purported onomatopoeic properties: some speculate that the name derives from the fact that the thick-skinned grape pops in the mouth when you bite into it; others believe that commonly encountered secondary fermentation and the resulting fizziness gave rise to its name (an early printed mention — 1823 — of the ampelonym is Scopp, according to Calò et alia).

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Click here for Hawk Wakawaka’s photo stream.

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