I’m actually already a member of the Wine Century Club and am loosely working on making it to 200. How could I have had so many different grapes you say? Italy! There are over 800 grape varieties in Italy, most of them never even make it to the US, Italy keeps them to itself. But since I had the pleasure of attending the Cividale sponsored trip to Friuli, I was able to taste a few new to me grapes.
Friulano — Originating in Friuli, this grape is white and produces a straw yellow colored wine with hints of green. An unmistakeable aroma of tart green apple and almonds fills the nose and the palate. Medium acidity and a long finish round out this wine Best drunk while young, if aged in wood, can sit for years.
Ramandolo — This ancient Friulian grape was the first in Friuli to receive the DOCG designation. Deep golden yellow in color with a distinct nose of honey. Full-bodied and semi-sweet in flavor, this white wine has a bit of a tannic bite.
Refosco — There are actually 5 families of Refosco as listed in the 1823 audit commissioned by Arch Duce Francesco Carlo of Austria of the varieties that were present at the time. Deep red in color when young, but turns more garnet with age. The nose on this wine gives you everything! Violets, roses, spice, coffee, blackberry, herbs all leading into an equally exciting and complex palate.
Ribolla Gialla — Another indigenous Friulian wine whose cultivation can traced back to the 14th century! Straw yellow in color, this white gives off a floral bouquet along with some nuttiness and oak. The zest on palate is surprising as it would seem that the flavors would be softer, creamier. But what this dry, zesty wine lacks in creaminess it packs in acidity and is quite pleasing.
Now here’s the thing, and don’t be mad at me, but I’m not sure how many of these you’ll be able to taste here in America. So….guess that means a trip to Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is in order!!
You know that when I get a wine tasting invitation, I rarely turn it down! I mean, why would I…they’re serving wine?? But this time the invitation was for the New Wines of Greece with Steve Olson (aka wine geek)
and a full lunch. No chance I was missing it! And I was so glad to be in attendance, as it was the place to be. I’ve had Greek wines before, but never this many and never this many that were amazing. Greece uses a few global varieties but were they really shine are there own home-grown, indigenous varietals.
Malagousia (white) — Soft and elegant in flavor, yet hugely aromatic.
Moschofilero (white) — One of the earliest varietals in Greece, this one is late ripening with medium acidity and a rich fruity aroma.
Roditis (white) — Found mostly in soils at a certain altitude and in hotter climates, the wines are dry with gripping acidity and a light, fruity aroma.
Assyrtiko (white) — Very responsive to its ‘terroir’ it really shines when grown in the volcanic soils of Santorini. The dry climate and tons of sunlight lend to a wine rich in body and high acidity with a fruity, floral nose.
Agiorgitiko (red) — Most often made in a dry style with soft tannins, this grape can produce sweet wine and rose as well. When aged it shows a complex bouquet of aromas with a very long finish.
Xinomavro — Some say it’s the rival of Agiorgitiko but I say, “Can’t we all just get along?!” Every grape has its own place :-) This one though, with its deep red color and strong acidity/alcohol, those aromas…. Oh, and the finish just won’t quit!
So those are the grapes. Then we sat down to a full, 4 course lunch with 4 accompanying flights of wine. You’d hate me if I put pics of all the food in this post. So, I’ll spare you this time. You’re welcome! But I will tell you the 2 dessert wines:
2006 Paraparoussis Muscat Rio Patras (white muscat) and the 2004 Sigalas Vinsanto with their honeyed, peachy aromas and flavors did everything I needed to send me back to the day job with a nap on my mind!!
But in all seriousness, the next time you are in your wine shop and looking for something new to try, ask if they have Greek wines. Please believe me, you will not be disappointed. At all.
This is the recipe for Mulled Wine that I presented at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show last weekend. It was another smash hit!!
· 1 bottle ruby port
· 1 bottle red zinfandel (or other full-bodied, spicy red wine)
· 5 cinnamon sticks
· 1 orange
· 1 tsp ground cloves
· 2 tsp cinnamon
· 1/2 cup of sugar
· 1 cup water
In a saucepan over med-low heat, add in everything except the wines. Once warm, add in the wine. Turn heat to low. It’s ready when you smell it!! If you like, you can filter out the cinnamon sticks and orange through a coffee filter. Enjoy!!
What you’ve all been waiting for…the Sangria recipe we made at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show!!! Enjoy all!!
Put all the fruit in a pitcher. Break a few of the cranberries to release the juices in the pitcher. Add the wine, then add the spiced simple syrup to taste. Stir. Refrigerate 2 -4 hours, but best if refrigerated overnight.
In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, cloves and star anise pods and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer while stirring and dissolving sugar. Boil until reduced a bit and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let simple syrup cool, strain and store in a glass jar in refrigerator.
Tonight’s lineup #Beaujolais. Right - Left
Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils 2010 (Beaujolais)
fruit, herbs, spice and everything nice
Jean-Paul Dubost 2010 (Beaujolais-Villages) — for Cindy
raspberry, cherry, and dark fruit with a hint of spice on the finish
Georges Descombes 2010 (Regnie -Cru Beaujolais) — MY FAV!!
black cherries and black pepper with bright acidity. finish goes on forever
Joseph Drouhin 2010 (Brouilly - Cru Beaujolais)
fruity and fluffy
Loacker Corte Pavone
Rosso di Montalcino & Brunello di Montalcino
(Taken with picplz.)
Its a red wine kinda nite… (Taken with picplz.)
Red blend from Priorat, Spain. 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Cab Sauv, 10% Syrah. 100% delish!!!
The Boyd & Blair @ Watershed NoMa (Taken with picplz.)