Showing posts with label Colli Orientali del Friuli Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colli Orientali del Friuli Stories. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Colli Orientali del Friuli 2011: A Few of My Favorite Things

Fire and friendship on cold winter mornings

Farmers who work in their fields without stopping

Doors that are opened to reveal new mysteries

These are a few of my favorite things

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gli American wine bloggers conquer Italy? How about Italians try to conquer Italy first?

And so my fellow Italians,ask not what America can do for Italy; ask what Italy can do for Italy"

The flash on my camera is not working. It's stuck. So is Italy. As much as there is talk of wines being natural, we even go so far as to walk in the vineyards, pull up a stone and look under it, or tear out a piece of soil and see the live snails tearing up the matter, still there are elements in Italy that rip it out only to throw it up in the air. For what? To see where it will go? To see if it will fly?

Italy has their barking poodles too, Ron. Maybe the television shows are not as entertaining as American ones, Starsky and Hutch, CSI, Dexter. Maybe there is a need for blood. Or controversy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Man cannot live by bread alone...

17 °F in Dallas and 17 °C here in Friuli

My neighborhood back home in Dallas today - Photo: Jessica Meyers/DMN
It is so hard to believe back home it is 17 °F in Dallas and yesterday in Friuli it was 17 °C ! They had ice, snow, sleet, and the coldest night of the past 15 years. Meanwhile, here we were walking around in shirts, even after the sun set.

All the better to get after it here with the COF 2011 crew. And also a little work with wineries I represent back home. Yesterday, an early morning meeting with my Friuli friend Stefano, who makes wine here, where we are staying at Il Roncal, and also the winery in Emilia, Campodelsole, which I represent in Texas. We had a short strategy meeting before setting off to taste 40 Schioppettino and Pignolo wines.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Colli Orientali del Friuli: Field Report

The field at Miani in Buttrio. I nearly tripped on the stones that covered the yard and the fields. The wines are immense, like the winemaker. The cellar, only 79 barrels (a little more than Chateau Le Pin), is colder than the outdoors. When garagiste Enzo Pontoni tells me the wines are more about the place (Buttrio) I think back almost a year when a winemaker took me out from his winery in Abruzzo and tasted the Montepulciano in the vineyard. Here, as well, I would like to do that. Out of the garage and back into the fields

Mother of winemaker Pontoni with Christian Patat of Ronco del Gnemiz chatting in Friulan
His mother is animated, very direct in her Friulian language and her naturalness with expressing herself simply and clearly. The wines too are very direct though not too simple. They are big wines; I am transported back 20+ years when Colli Orientali was asserting itself on the world stage. Now Colli Orientali is no longer a child, but a young person, full of energy and spunk. There are a few wine lovers in Dallas who would love these wines with their hearty Western fare.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunsets and Revelation in Friuli

Earlier in the week, back home in Texas, I was lying in bed late at night. The wind was howling. A huge winter storm was bearing down over my roof. Snow, ice, winds, tornado sirens going off, alarms. Another winter surge, another whiteout. And so my mind raced, thinking about Friuli.

I don’t really know that much about the area. It isn’t exactly in the center of things. And for me, it isn’t one of my go-to regions. Alto-Adige has more draw in my business life, as does the Veneto. In fact, as I think more about it, I have spent an inordinate amount of time talking about wines from Friuli without the requisite sales volume. That’s a real shame, because these are good wines. But there are problems. And after tasting through a series of wines from Friuli last week at the Vino2011 events in New York, some of the same problems exist that I initially observed when I first got interested in these wines back in the early 1980’s.

Seeing as I am on my way with the COF2011 blog crew to Friuli, and specifically the Colli Orientali, I thought it would be illustrative to make some notes and see if the following week addresses concerns I have for these wines as they pertain to the American market.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Colli Orientali Flashback - A Generation Ago

"Follow your own star" ~ Dante Alighieri

The wine trail in Italy  ~ 1988 ~ Colli Orientali del Friuli

It had been a difficult spring. A beer company had bought the wine company I was working for and we were transitioning to their offices. A last minute offer had been proffered (literally “here’s our offer, take it or leave it”) and I reluctantly took it. It was a job, but the pay was terrible, the drive was long and the folks who hired me had no idea what I did or what the fine wine business was all about. It would be the first, and not the last time, beer people invaded my world and made a mess of my life. So what to do, but go to Italy for a couple of weeks?

After settling in at my base on the Adriatic, San Benedetto del Tronto, and having my fill of fresh seafood and white wine from the Marche and Abruzzo, I borrowed a car from a friend and headed up the coast towards Venice. I had my gal Lizanne with me on the trip. She was years away from being diagnosed with the dreaded disease that would kill her in too short of a time. We were in full blaze of youth, bulletproof and had a car.

The plan was to go to Venice, Ravenna and Friuli, specifically the Colli Orientali, where two wine estates were part of the world waiting back home, if there was a home to go back to. Unbeknownst to me, two of my colleagues would unsuccessfully plot to render my position irrelevant in a lustful grab for my job. I had a corner office and a Vice-president title. I learned that those two things are not all what people think they are, myself having long ago surrendered to the fields in flyover country that constantly needed plowing and refreshing. But the sun was shining on an Adriatic Italy and I had my Beatrice, and her love, and was heading to Udine.
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