The COF2012 project has been incredibly busy and interesting. Every day our itinerary is packed with visits to winemakers and vineyards. The Consortium has put together a great experience for all of us.
With that in mind, I’ve taken some time to look back at the whirlwind of our first three days in Colli Orientali del Friuli and consider some of the experiences that stand out the most for me.
Taglioni al San Daniele at Trattoria Solder. We arrived at our agriturismo around lunchtime and headed across the street to Trattoria Solder, a casual restaurant featuring typical Friulian food and wine. For 6 travelers, several of whom had been traveling for 12-24 hours, this was a comforting and delicious introduction to Friuli. The wines were fantastic and the proprietor, Fabrizio Solder, took very good care of us – sending out a selection of dishes from his menu. The standout for me was a simple dish featuring thin strands of taglioni pasta coated in a savory, rich sauce of the local Montasio cheese and wrapped in San Daniele prosciutto.
Schioppettino. Our first full day in COF began with a tasting and meeting of winemakers at the consortium offices. For many of us, this was our first extensive experience with the wonderful local red variety known as Schioppettino. One of my favorites from the day, and a wine I would get to try again at a dinner with local Schioppettino producers, is from Grillo.
Lunch at Ronchi di Cialla. As pure gastronomic experiences go, few will rival our lunch at the Ronchi di Cialla winery. Stewed pork cheek (guancia) in a rich sauce (don’t say “goulash”!) with polenta, paired with a vertical tasting of 2008, 1998, and 1988 Schioppettino wines.
Historic journals at D’Attimis. Located in Buttrio and established in the 1500s, the Conte D’Attimis-Maniago Winery offered great wines along with a helping of living history. Located in the winery’s tasting room were original journals from the 1700s (in very good shape, written on vellum). Jeremy reviewed the journals and noted sales and inventory figures as well as records reflecting the sharecropping traditions of the past.
Conte D’Attimis-Maniago Tasting Room. Also at Conte D’Attimis-Maniago Winery, the tasting room itself was a fantastic venue for sampling these excellent wines. Our host, owner Alberto d’Attimis-Maniago Marchiò, poured wine after wine in a setting fit for kings, counts and bloggers.
Conte D’Attimis-Maniago Winery: Panorama view. Click and drag within the picture to view a 360 degree view. If you have trouble viewing, or for a larger version, you can also click here.
The View. And finally at D’Attimis, the view from the top of the hill above the winery was fantastic. As we later learned, many of the stock photos you see of Colle Orientali vineyards are actually taken here. Owner Alberto d’Attimis-Maniago Marchiò drove us to the top and gave us an overview of his vineyard operations.
Bastianich lunch. Lidia Bastianich and son Joe have a significant presence in Colli Orientali del Fiuli with their own winery and foresteria or country house. She hosted our group of bloggers for lunch one afternoon and we sampled many of her own dishes as well as wines presented by wine director Wayne Young. The house, food, wine and conversation were one of my most memorable experiences of the trip so far. Many thanks to Lidia and her staff for having us.
Pinot Grigio Ramato at Specogna. Most of our group knew nothing about the Specogna Winery before we showed up for dinner one evening. Boy did that change by the end of the night. Brothers Cristian and Michele, now running the winery with their parents, completely floored us with a fantastic selection of wine and food. One of the highlights for was a side-by-side tasting of their bottled Pinot Grigio with a Pinto Grigio Ramato taken straight from the barrel in their cellar.
Up next – Part 2 of my favorite things in Friuli.