Friuli rymes with Free Uli or truly...
So as you saw on my last post, I found myself with a fellow wineyack, Wayne Young of Bastianich Winery In Friuli, heading down the highway for Cividale near Udine.
I was starving, he was willing to find me a restaurant and so we found ourselves at Trattoria del Parco in Buttrio who gave us a meal to remember, once we had squashed the car into the last possible space, that involved some serious five point turns.
Lunch was filled with local specialities. They like cheese around here- and the basket of parmigiano with a local cheese filling was a crunchy-delicious-pleasing start, then polenta and fungi, then risotto for me and crem-catalan and in between,wine, all of this in a packed restaurant. The wonderful patron treated us to a full tasting of Meroi reds and whites. And If I may say so myself, we took on the challenge fearlessly and without heatitation, despite days worth of heavy tastings and Wayne's rocking closing party appearance the night before. Driving on an an Italian highway with a hangover in the blaring sun is one thing, but becoming a wine-guide is another. Wayne was up to the challenge. He took me all over the Bastianisch vineyards like a true trooper, while I videoed him and asked a mulitude of questions.
and then we sat on the verandah up on the hill in that golden pinky light of late autumn afternoon with the vineyards bathed in rosy light and tasted Bastianich whites Vespa and Plus. (thats not Google wine no, but Bastianich's great classy whites). there is that bitter almond note, good acids, great structure, complexity, a finish, what can I say.. Italian whites have undergone a revolution, and it started right about here.
So in an already action packed day, involving two tastings, we climbed into Waynes nippy chariot and headed through the Friuli countryside which here is spitting distance from the Slovenian border, and passing through lovely villages in Colli Orientali del Friuli: arrived at another winery, this time that of Filippo Butussi's family, the brand name Valentino Batussi is as synonomous with Friuli as Frico is.
More of that Frico later.
Filippo had invited me to see how they make wine up here in the region romantically named Venezia Friuli Giulia. The winery tour was interesting as he showed us his patented equipment, while his love of the region and the history of this place (being the begining of wine making in Italy-dating back 2,000 years) shone through in every word.
Wayne finally threw in the towel...
The Batussi family history is all here in Corno di Rosazzo.
And so to the third wine-tasting of the day, which we started in the shop with Filippo and his father, and continued over dinner in a local trattoria named SOLDER. We were joined by the lovely Claudia, Filippo's amorosa as he calls her.
The amount of food we managed to consume on over dinner which lasted until midnight, was simply astounding!! and then a frico was ordered. Not wanting to appear faint-hearted I asked the super chef to wrap it up so I could take it home.
The food, the wine and the company was delighful. The chef joined us for the Batussi Picolit something I will not easily forget, it was forgotten grape for many years, but has made a comeback thanks to winemakers like the Butussi family, and is simply nectar of the Gods.
It was such a pleasure to see two young people so proud and happy with their culture, their region and their history, with no desire to run off to Milan and work in an office.
I over-nighted at the Batussi family agritourismo that is located right in the vineyards and I woke to the most wonderful vineyard view of the most Easterly vineyards I had been in in Italy.
That morning I went on a history tour with Filippo of the oldest wine region, stories of the foundary that fired all the terracotta urns for wine and oil made here thousand of years ago. Him turning over the soil which gave up fragments of the terracotta urns.
We drove through lovely vineyards and villages, Phillipo ever encouraging as I lept out every few minutes to caputure more vineyards with my camera. It is a region that merits two weeks spent discovering its wines and its strange lilting language. I had just 24 hours, but my goodness what a 24 hours it had been.
Thanks for the hospitality and the memories.. Ill be BACK>
And so it was I found myself consuming a Frico the following day on the train to Venice.....