Friday, August 11, 2006

T.G.I.F. ~ Thank God It's FELLUGA

“Words came so fast the typewriter caught on fire, and the computer was ushered in.”

...n tha land Friuli, where tha mythtacal Pico-lit vidiizzles, flowahs n caps `bout hizzle of it’s crop. Whiznat peches n chillin is tha butta . Whoa whasup? Sounds like mah post'n has been Gizoogled .

Let’s start this again….

The land of Friuli, where the mythical Picolit couches, flowers and scraps about half of its crop through some genetic fire dance. But what remains for the winemaker can be the ultimate expression of greatness. First a fire, then Snoop takes over my brain, now this computer has a tourettes virus? Is this week done, 'cause I am.

I started out writing this with the last of the Nonino Picolit grappa, and feeling that more inspiration would be necessary. When that was discharged, the rosolio of cannella from Sicily was brought in to stoke up the fire of illumination. Seems like my brain might be experiencing the same mutation that the Picolit must have in order for it to be so highly regarded. At least the wine will be treasured, as for moi, the old grey matter aint what it used to be.

It is Friday, and thanks to the most high for a brief respite. While this is just a little calm after the storm, let’s take a stroll on the Wine Trail in Friuli.

Between Gorizia and Palmanova, the Felluga estate bring forth their vinous children in a gentle and respectful manner. If you are in Venice, visiting the birds and the glass and the narrow alleys and just need a break back into the country, look this way. About an hour and you can be in the bosom of a beautiful treasure land. Gorizia reminds me of an Italian Havana, with restored architectural buildings of significant provenance and the occasional American automobile from an earlier time. That’s Josko Gravner tooling around town in his vintage Falcon.

Palmanova is a perfectly preserved star shaped citadel, a fortress town founded in 1593 to withstand any threat. In 1797 Napoleon walked right in without a sword lifted and proceeded to get the first good cup of coffee he’d had in many a moon. Only in Italy do these towns crop up like sunflowers. This one is must be seen and if you can be there on market day (Monday) there are many unusual Friulan delicacies. San Daniele Prosciutto, In August they have the Frico Festival, honoring a characteristic dish of Friuli made with potatoes and cheese and served with polenta. And there’s always the ubiquitous edible offal, Trippe, from the pages of la cucina povera. Finally, the wonderful Montasio cheese.

In between these two places one will discover Cormons. The Felluga foresteria and vineyards at Rosazzo situate themselves in the heartland of Friuli, the Colli Orientali del Friuli. Here is where the region has the greatest expression of local terroir, Colli Orientali, The Eastern Hills. To me they are akin to the vineyards of Margaux or Latour in Bordeaux, of Castelnuovo Berardenga in Tuscany or of Zeltinger Himmelreich in the Mosel. All very different wines from this little Picolit wine, so feeble the vines are here.
The grapes here, instead of the attack from botrytis are subjected to "acinellatura", a form of floral abortion that causes only 5-6 grapes on 30 to ripen. A single vine produces only 4 bunch of medium size grapes, even more sickly than D’Yquem.

I came upon an open bottle earlier this week when the Moet Hennessy USA director of wine and spirit education and Master of Wine, Charles Curtis, was directing a symposium. Late to this segment from an earlier commitment (the day job) Charles saw me and motioned me over to the tiny, soon to be orphaned, bottle of Felluga Picolit. I am a dessert wine lover and have too many of them in my wine room. It’s my Sicilian and Calabrese side, the side that loves sweet, the side that is enjoying this spicy rosolio from cinnamon as I write this in the wee hours ( so as not to interfere with the day job). I took a sip and a shizzle, oops that thing is back. This wine did a little number on me. There were goodbyes to be made, people to get to the airport, rush hour traffic in 100 degree weather, all kinds of distractions. So I took another small taste, made a mental note, and got back in the drivers seat.

About 2 hours later, when the dust had settled and I’m home, the jogging trail calls. Halfway though a run I notice something in the way I’m breathing, like there is a tree in bloom. No flowers in sight, I do this run 5-6 times a week. Aha, the lingering finish of the few surviving grapes pressed into the service of immortality! Finally the light of this fabled quaff shimmered on this solitary runner in the dusk.



Rosolio di Cannella




Thank God Its Friuli!

1 comment:

Travel Italy said...

Pinot Grigio, Tocai, fantastic people, great food... Time for a trip to the homeland.

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