I love to go back to this area because its history, culture and geographic position are always a source of unexpected surprises. Friuli is the eastern part of the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and includes the province of Udine, Gorizia and Pordenone. The many rivers coming down from the alps formed the large plain that ends the south side of this region on the Adriatic Sea. What keeps bringing us back to Friuli is the wine. This region keeps producing some of the most outstanding wines in all of Italy. The particular soil composition, made by stratas of ancient seabed formations with a predominant part of calcareous marl and flysh sandstone, create the perfect terrain for those indigenous varietals like Ribolla, Friulano, Verduzzo, Picolit, Vitoska, Schioppettino, Refosco, Pignolo just to mention some. This month we featuring two producers that are expression of a new generation of winemakers but with a profound connections to their roots and tradition. Let discover them and listen their stories that are told in our glasses.
About the Winery: The Buzzinelli family have been making wine for three generations. They maintain a strong philosophy of respecting the land while building a foundation of knowledge from all the workers of their land. Through this accounting of history, they make wonderful wines.
About the Winemaking: This was hand harvested in September 2018. There was brief maceration, soft pressing, static settling and fermentation in stainless steel at controlled cold temperatures. The wine was matured on lees until March, and then it was bottled.
Tasting Notes: Need something out of the ordinary to sip by the pool and enjoy by the fire with some cheese before dinner? This ribolla gialla, a native varietal from Friuli, is surprisingly light, fruity, and dry that can accomplish every fantastic seafood meal! It has a light golden color with a honeyed ripe nose of pear, yellow apple and bouquets of white flowers. It leaves a soft texture and lingering juiciness in the palate making it an excellent wine to pair with food.
About the Winery: According to Giovanni Genio, his interest in wine started when he was 5 years old, when he ran in the vineyards to see his father and uncle during harvest. In 2006 he decided to recover the old vineyards of his grandfather, located in Savorgnano del Torre, in the middle of the region Friuli. Using his knowledge from Viticolture and Oenology in the City of Cividale del Friuli, he worked the vineyards back to life. He maintained a philosophy to respect the land and thus maintains a low emission of carbon dioxide on his vineyard, and he practices organic growing techniques.
About the Winemaking: This bottle started with the harvest of perfectly ripened grapes of Refosco old vines (40 years old). They were hand harvested on October, 12 2016. The grapes were destemmed and let to ferment and macerate for 30 days. After racking, the wine was matured in French oak barriques for 16 months. It was then blended in stainless steel vats and finally matures for 5 months in the bottle.
Tasting Notes: A bounty of ruby red cranberry, cheery, and black plum. Soft velvet like tannins and perfect acidity to make this a wine enjoyable on it own or with food. It has winter spice and herbaceous notes giving it a savory quality.
Branzino brasato con spugnole (Braised sea bass with morel mushrooms) Ingredients (serves 6)
1 kg sea bass
300 g Brussels sprouts leaves
100 g fresh morels sliced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion thinly sliced
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup vegetable stock
1 stalk of celery diced
1 carrot cut in rounds
Salt & pepper
In a sauté pan get the oil hot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, let smother for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and sear the sea bass both sides until the skin is crisp. Add the vegetable stock. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves, morels, salt and fresh grind pepper. Cover and braised to low-medium heat for 15 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Serve with toasted rye bread. This dish pairs well with both wines.