Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"ADRIATICO"... A unique collaboration spanning borders of three nations

Last week I had the great opportunity to meet with Wayne Young (Marketing Commnications at Bastianich - @Waynegrape) and Emilio del Medico (winemaker Bastianich) at Eataly in New York City.

Wayne is a longtime fellow #winelover who has devoted the last years of his life to spread the love for Italian wine (more specifically, Friulian wine), but he wanted to show me something a little different this time... "ADRIATICO"... A unique collaboration spanning borders of three nations (Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia) uniting a common passion for 3 indigenous varieties (Friulano, Ribolla, and Malvasia) that find their maximum expression at the northern tip of the Adriatic Sea.

Don't know much about these grape varieties? No problem!

Friulano is the most typical white wine in Friuli, the northernmost region of Italy. It is an indigenous grape variety grown in Friuli for hundreds of years. Our Friulano is produced in the Colli Orientali area of Friuli, an area known for its unique terroir and where world-class white wines of Italy are produced. 

Ribolla is the most typical white wine in Brda (the westernmost region of Slovenia) and Collio (the northernmost region of Italy). It is one of the most ancient grape varieties in the area, grown here since the time of the Roman Empire.

Malvasia traces its roots back to Greece. It is an ancient grape variety which has found its greatest expression as a crisp, dry, white wine on the hills of the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. It is perfectly adapted to the warm, dry climate and matched to the bountiful seafood in the area.

The wines are made from 100% the grape variety that you see on the label. The tasting notes below and pairing suggestions will give you a good idea of what to expect from each of them:

This Malvasia shows lovely aromas and flavors of whte flowers (jasmine and hawthorn), peaches, and tropical fruit. Although it is medium-bodied, the impact is rich, with a typical waxy texture backed by minerally structure and a long, dry finish.

Classically paired with the fish and seafood of the Adriatic, notably sea bass (branzino) and sea breem (orata). Also great with vegetable dishes, light, creamy pastas, lighter white meats, and soft cheeses.

“This dry Malvasia,
produced on the Istrian
peninsula in Croatia, has
the ability to be both
elegant and powerful.
Floral, mineral and a
hint of tropical fruit”

Our Ribolla, from middle-aged and old vines, is slightly yellow, with gold accents; the bouquet is soft with notes of lemon, green apple, citrus, and grapefruit. The harmony of acids, full body, and distinct minerality perfects the palate.

Pairs wonderfully with a variety of dishes, including asparagus, white meat, seafood, pasta, pork, and fish.

“This Ribolla from the
Brda area in Slovenia
highlights Ribolla's clean
freshness. Citrus, green
apple and mineral layer
the palate with a
long racy finish.”

A typical Friulano, which expresses the history and terroir of Friuli. Medium bodied with ripe, luscious pear flavors carried by a refreshing mineral flavor and zesty, mouthwatering acidity.

A classic match with prosciutto. Try also with seafood and fish, pork and Asian/spicy dishes.

“Very fresh, crisp and
lively, very dry, yet
juicy...flavorful in a way
that's both fruity and
savory...A phenomenal value.”

Over a lovely lunch at Manzo we tasted and talked about the wines and, most importantly, it was an opportunity how to see how well the wines pair with a myriad of different dishes. Their flexibility is amazing! Nothing against Pinot Grigio (there are a few very good ones out there), but this Friluano kick their butts really bad! This wine has good intensity of flavor, and yet, its crisp acidity makes it work pretty well with food. Highly recommended.

Ok, but enough already with the "ADRIATICO PROJECT". I need a minute to talk about my favorite wine of the day: Vespa Bianco 2004 (45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon, 10% Picolit). Intense and aromas and lovely fruit. This eight year old is still very fresh and displays lots of complexity. Not to mention a delicious lingering finish. This wine is simply one of the best Italian white wines. Period.


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