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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Italy - Friuli (2)

We decided to invite local wine-loving friends here in France to a tasting of the Italian wines we'd brought back in 2008-9.  The wines were all made from single grape varieties from Friuli, almost all little-known outside the area.  We asked everyone to bring something to share for the meal, trying to match each of the 6 wines we had chosen with a dish.  All six wines were excellent, and each went well with its accompanying food. 
For the apéritif we had the sweet but refreshing and slightly tannic white Verduzzo friuliano (Iacuzzi), then a fresh and lemony Tocai friuliano (Iacuzzi) with a light tuna and vegetable bake from one of  our guests as the first entrée.  The first of the reds, the Tazzelenghe (Iacuzzi) went with charcuterie - the wine is quite astringent at first taste, but as in the tasting we found the aftertaste wonderful and well-matched with the meats.  The main course, a richly-flavoured rabbit casserole (from Elizabeth David's Italian food ) went with the second red, a Schioppetino (Iacuzzi) which had a delicious taste of sour cherries.  The cheese included two or three Italian ones, with which we drank a refined and powerful refosco (Anna Berra).
Then the sweet, one of the elegant fruit tarts you can buy at almost any bakers', went with the dessert wine, a Ramondolo (Anna Berra) made from the same grape as the apéritif but is richer and more concentrated because the grapes are dried before the juice is extracted.  In fact, we learned in Italy that the Tazzelenghe is also made with grapes left to dry for a month after picking - this is a common Italian practice for some of the great concentrated reds from other areas, but it was a surprise to find it used with a wine from such an obscure grape variety.  The results, however, justify the effort we think: when we tried the rest of a bottle the day after the tasting it tasted even better.
I have mentioned the producers them in the previous entry with links their websites from which the last two wines came from.  The first 4 were from the Iacuzzi brothers in Torreano, the final two from the Anna Berra vineyard a little further north in the hills of Nimis.  I hope we can return and revisit both these excellent wineries.

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