Bortoluzzi Friulano 2014
Best served with flavorful first courses such as risotto with asparagus and aromatic herbs; fish courses (especially “fatty” fish like roast turbot or rock fish). Excellent with spicy Asian cuisine.
Giovanni Bortoluzzi, born in 1944, started as a roving oenological consultant and bottler, and was very soon dubbed wine ambassador in his region for talent and expertise.
True enough, his 30 years experience, numerous oenological awards and operation of the area's mobile bottling plant have endowed him with an intimate, detailed knowledge of the Collio and Isonzo del Friuli appelations that very few can match.
Since 1981, Giovanni is proprietor and wine maker of the Bortoluzzi estate: 100 acres, 25 of which ideally placed vineyards on gravelly, mineral enriched deposit of the diverted Isonzo River.
The abundant minerals in the soil make for the grapes' rich components and extract, and for the wines' richness in fruity/floral nuances and varietal character.
The vines are sheltered by mountains from the raw northern winds, thereby allowing grapes to mature gently in the mild autumn sun.
Pruning is extensive, for low crop yield of 100% varietal wines. Production is 20,000 cases yearly, with only free-sun juice vinified. Giovanni's talent is more than evident in this superb range, striking for finesse and polish.
The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The styles of wines produced in this region of Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. The flat valley of Friuli Grave is responsible for a large proportion of the region’s wine production, particularly the approachable Pinot grigio and the popular Prosecco. The best vineyard locations are often on hillsides, as in Colli Orientali del Friuli or Collio. In general, Friuli boasts an ideal climate for viticulture, with warm sunny days and chilly nights, which allow grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.
In Colli Orientali, the specialty is crisp, flavorful white wine made from indigenous varieities like Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Ribolla gialla and Malvasia Istriana.
Red wines, though far less common here, can be quite good, especially when made from the deeply colored, rustic Refosco variety. In Collio Goriziano, which abutts Slovenia, many of the same varieties are planted. International varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are also common, but they tend to be Loire-like in style with herbaceous character and mellow tannins. Carso’s star grape is the red Teranno, notable for being rich in iron content and historically consumed for health purposes. It has an earthy, meaty profile and is often confused with the distinct variety Refosco.
Thriving in the NE Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia near the border of Slovenia, Friulano makes a uniquely high-pitched and vibrant white with a delicate perfume. Extensive in the area by the early 1930s, today Friulano grows in all of the best zones and is usually, but not always, bottled as a single-varietal wine. Somm Secret— The Friulano grown today, while named for its present home of Friuli, is actually the Sauvignonasse grape, a minor cultivar that came from Bordeaux.