Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WBW#41 Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Friuli-Venezia Whites)


This month the theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday, suggested by Jack & Joanne at fork and bottle, are the whites wines from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in Italy. Friuli is a region with a long history of occupation; the Celts, the Romans, the Barbarians, the Lombards, the Avari, the Austrians and the Hungarians have all had control over this region at a certain period of time. I would imagine that this variety of cultures would have left a distinct mark on the gastronomy of this region including the wines.

While good reds are produced here, Friuli is primarily known for it's high quality white wines; in some sub-regions white varieties outnumber red varieties by a ratio of 5 to 1. An estimated thirty grape varieties are grown here including a number of indigenous varieties of which Tocai Friulano is the most important and widely grown. Soon to be known as Friulano, in order to avoid confusion with Tokaji in Hungary, this variety is found almost entirely in the Friuli region, except for some plantings in Chile (where it is known as Savignon Vert).

The entire region of Friuli is known for the quality of it's wines. However, the two sub-regions of Collio and, especially, Colli Orientali located to the east along the border with Slovenia are said to produce the best wines.

This month I have chosen to review two wines. Since I found it rather difficult to find wines for WBW themes in the past, I bought the first bottle I came across (more by chance than by design). This was a 2006 Sauvignon (blanc) produced by Tenuta Ca' Bolani. However, I rather like to try something new and original so I also managed to get my hands on a Tocai Friulano - Storico (Cru) produced by Adriano Gigant. This wine comes from 70 year old vineyards located in Colli Orientali, is limited in production to 7000 bottles, and was rated as a tre bicchiere (three glass) selection in the 2007 Gambero Rosso Guide to Italian Wines.

2006 Tenuta Ca' Bolani Sauvignon

Country: Italy
Region: Fiuli
Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: €9.00

Very clear, pale, straw-like in colour. The nose is distinctly sauvignon blanc quite perfumed and aromatic with grass and gooseberry. Palate is limes, gooseberry; round and smooth with hints of butter. The finish is tart lime fruit with a reasonable length. This is very, very easy drinking Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely.

2004 Tocai Friulano - Storico (Cru)

Country: Italy
Region: Fiuli
Alcohol: 14%
Price: €15.95

Pale, clear gold in colour. The nose is elegant, fragrant and floral. Crisp citrus fruits dominate the palate, yet it also has some creamy aspects too. Very well balanced with good structure. The long, thick legs on the sides of the glass are evidence of 14% alcohol though you wouldn't know it. Nice long, slightly bitter finish completes an excellent wine.

1 comment:

Jack at Fork & Bottle said...

Some of theFriuli Sauvignons are really pleasurable. But I'm ready to try that Adriano Gigant blend today!