Tim's Wine Tour Blog

To the Colli Orientali and Friuli Isonzo

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A very full day was in store given our 8am start but well worth it. With the weather forecast proving to be wrong, and far less rain than expected, we arrived at the historic Abbazia Rosazzo close to the Slovenian border in the Colli Orientali. This was to be the setting for our tasting of the wines Livio Felluga. Export manager Alice Papagni greeted us on arrival and took us on a brief tour of the cellar and grounds of this amazing Abbey and gave us insight into the historical context as we admired the chair the Pope had sat on in 2002.

Our tasting then took place in one of the most elegant and beautiful rooms that we have visited and we began exploring the Felluga range. This estate has become one of the most important in the region and is associated with uniformly high quality. The wines were exceptional and Alice created a wonderful atmosphere as we experienced a range of styles that were somewhat unfamiliar. The Friulano was fresh with great minerality; the Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc were intense and rich with great depth; the Illivio was had fabulous depth and the Abbazia di Rosazzo and Terre Alte would give any conventional top class white a run for its money. A seriously high quality start to the day!

From the Abbazia it was a gentle 350 metre walk to Le Badie restaurant where a delicious lunch awaited. Washed down with a further two Felluga wines – the Sharis Bianco and Vertigo Rosso – we tucked into fresh asparagus with ham, gnocchi, pork loin and strawberries and ice cream with a delicious Picolit.

Suitably refreshed, the coach took us to Mariano del Friuli and the renowned Vie de Romans estate. Laura Zanini, the export manager hosted a lively visit, starting off in the vineyards where we learnt some of the subtle importances of their terroir.

Walking through their spotless cellar it was clear that technology was important to maintain the purity and intensity of the wines and Laura explained in detail how exposure to oxygen to freshly picked grapes and must was maintained.

A sensational range of wines was  then tasted. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay that all demonstrated the depth, intensity and quality that the estate is renowned for; the Flors de UIs – a delicious blend, and then we were treated to a 2008 Piere Sauvignon Blanc which showed the extraordinary keeping ability of this grape.

A fabulous day and well worth the extended journey.