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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 147, January 2016   
Contrasts of Friulano and Malvasia IstrianaContrasts of Friulano and Malvasia Istriana Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 146, December 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 148, February 2016

Contrasts of Friulano and Malvasia Istriana

Two of the most famous white berried grapes of Friuli Venezia Giulia compared in our glasses. Different varieties, even distant ones, however expression of their land

 This month we are going to pour in our glasses two white wines from Friuli Venezia Giulia and produced with two of the most well known white berried grapes of this land. This Northern-Eastern region of Italy offers a view of grapes and lands pretty singular, certainly among the most famous wine lands of Italy and successful in the world. In particular famous for its white wines, Friuli Venezia Giulia, besides having in its vineyards international varieties, offers a remarkable selection of wines produced with genuine indigenous grapes. The bond of Friuli Venezia Giulia to white grapes is strong and historical, despite today are red grapes cultivated in this region to be successful in Italy and abroad. White wines of Friuli Venezia Giulia, and therefore its indigenous and international grapes, play in fact a fundamental role in the wine making scene of Italy.


 

 There are many grapes cultivated in this region and all having an extraordinary enological value, with a production virtually embracing every wine style, from dry whites to sweet wines made from dried grapes. Among the white berried grapes, there is one to be particularly notable, that is the grape now called Friulano, because of the recent happenings which forced the grape to change its name after having been called Tocai Friulano for a very long time. It is the only glory of Friuli Venezia Giulia, as there are many grapes which made this region famous, such as the whites Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit, the reds Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Schioppettino, Pignolo and Tazzelenghe. In the region are also found international varieties, widely introduced to this territory, as well as all over the Northern-Eastern part of Italy, after the unlucky effects of phylloxera. The spreading of international grapes is still today important and they are in fact widely found in many Denominazione d'Origine Controllata wines of this region.

 Friulano received quite a lot of attention in recent times because of the long controversy it had with the Hungarian wine Tokaji, at the end of which was decided the change of its name. Because of this decision, as of March 2007, the glorious Tocai Friulano - frequently called in short as “Tocai” - had to change its name into Friulano, after having pondered the possibility of calling it Tai. Friuli Venezia Giulia tried, with no success, to oppose to this decision, however as of vintage 2008 in the labels of bottles the mention Tocai Friulano has been replaced with Friulano. Of course, the glory and greatness of the grape did not change despite it had to change its name. It should however be noticed none of the grapes used for the production of Hungarian wine Tokaji - the most famous of them is Furmint - has a connection to Friulano as they are absolutely different varieties.

 Wines produced with Friulano gives to the sense of the taster typical qualities capable of giving them a remarkable personality. Bitter almond certainly is among the main olfactory sensations which can be perceived from a glass of Friulano, a quality that - it should be said - shares with other grapes as well. Wines produced with Friulano can be appreciated for a pleasing and slightly bitter taste perceived after having swallowed the wine. Most of the wines produced with this grape are dry, however there also are examples of sweet wines. Friulano is particularly found in Friuli Venezia Giulia, its homeland. It should also be noticed this grape is found, although marginally, in Veneto - it is found in Bianco di Custoza wines - and in Lombardy is used for the wines of San Martino della Battaglia. Friulano is generally vinified in inert containers - in order to keep its characteristic aromas of bitter almond - and sometimes it is fermented and aged in cask as well.

 The history of Malvasia Istriana is different, better to say, of Malvasia grapes as with this name are generally identified a pretty vast family of grapes. It is a very ancient varieties which have always been successful, catching the attention of men since the dawn of wine history and of which are found many mentions in documents of the past. The name Malvasia comes from the Greek city of Monemvasia, in the Peloponnese, where the famous wines produced in this area were shipped all over Europe. The name Monemvasia has been changed in the course of time and became Malvasia, a term used for calling the wines recalling the original wine making style of this Greek city. The spreading of Malvasia grapes is vast, and only in Italy can be counted many varieties having this name, both white and red berried grapes.


The straw
yellow color of Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano
The straw yellow color of Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano

 Grapes belonging to the family of Malvasia are considered, in general terms, semi-aromatic varieties, that is capable of making wines with sensorial qualities recalling grape juice, although not dominant. This characteristic is found in wines produced with the varieties called Malvasia, however this is not true for Malvasia Istriana, as it represents an exception to this quality. If it is true in wines produced with Malvasia can be perceived the aroma of grape, the same found in Muscat blanc, this is a quality missing in Malvasia Istriana. Of the Malvasia grapes, the Istriana has the quality of making wines with a moderate body yet elegant, in particular those made from grapes cultivated in plain lands. Malvasia Istriana is particularly found in Collio and Carso areas - here are being produced the best expressions of the region - and it is also cultivated in the neighboring Slovenia and Croatia where it is known as Malvazija Istarska. Just like Friulano, Malvasia Istriana is mainly vinified in inert containers and the production in cask is not so common.

 Our tasting by contrast will examine a Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano and a Collio Malvasia. It should be noticed that, in general terms, in bottles of Malvasia is rarely written the term “Istriana”, a characteristic which must be considered implicit, as it is exclusively made with Malvasia Istriana. In choosing our wines we will pick two bottles vinified in inert containers, possibly in steel tanks, in order to better appreciate the specific qualities of the grapes. Getting two wines with these characteristics should not be difficult as the vinification in inert containers is what it is mainly adopted for both varieties. The two wines must belong to the most recent vintage, therefore we will focus on the comparison of young wines. Our Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano and Collio Malvasia will be served in tasting glasses at a temperature of 10 °C (50 °F).

 After having poured the two wines in the glasses, let's begin our tasting by contrast from appearance analysis, that is the phase in which is being evaluated color and transparency. We will begin the examination of the appearance by evaluating the glass of Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano. Let's tilt the glass over a white surface and observe the wine at the base. The color Friulano shows to our sight is an intense and briliant straw yellow, frequently showing a hue of greenish yellow. Nuances of Friulano, observed at the edge of the glass, show a greenish yellow color, also a proof of the young age of the wine. The color of Collio Malvasia is evidently paler than Friulano: in this case it is the greenish yellow color to be mainly seen, brilliant and intense, sometimes showing straw yellow hues. Nuances of Malvasia is not so different from what we already observed at the base of the glass, by confirming an evident greenish yellow hue.

 The aromas expressed by Friulano and Malvasia Istriana give to the sense of the taster olfactory profiles in which can be perceived remarkable differences. One of the dominant qualities of Friulano is expressed by a strong aroma of bitter almond, a characteristic very appreciated in wines produced with this variety. It should be said the bitter almond aroma is also perceived in other varieties, mainly white berried ones, and it is also possible to find it in red grapes. Of course, there is more than bitter almond in Friulano, an olfactory profile in which are expressed aromas of white and yellow fruits and flowers. The olfactory profile of Malvasia Istriana substantially differs from Friulano, however expressing in its wines interesting aromas of fruits and flowers. The aging in wood of wines produced with these two varieties, although this is not so common, adds tertiary aromas sometimes covering the typical qualities of the two grapes. For this reason, it is thanks to the skill of producer to keep the personality of Friulano and Malvasia Istriana by adding, at the same time, complexity to the aromas of wine.

 Let's start the evaluation of aromas from Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano. By keeping the glass in vertical position and without swirling, let's proceed with the first smell in order to appreciate the opening of wine. From the glass will be perceived, strong and clean, the characteristic aroma of bitter almond, well mixed to sensations recalling white fruits. Specifically, Friulano gives opening aromas of apple, pear and bitter almond. After having swirled the glass, let's tilt it and smell: the wine will complete its olfactory profile with hawthorn, peach, broom, plum, pineapple and, sometimes, hay. Let's now pass to the opening of Collio Malvasia. The first smell will bring to our senses aromas of apple, peach and hawthorn, very different from Friulano. It will be noticed the absence of bitter almond, as well as hints of grape juice, sometimes found in grapes belonging to the Malvasia family. After having swirled the glass, the olfactory profile of Collio Malvasia is completed by pear, plum, apricot, citrus fruits, as well as sensations of tropical fruits such as pineapple and banana.

 The tasting of the two wines reveals substantial differences, not only in the taste but also in tactile sensations, structure in particular. The attack of Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano is characterized by a pleasing crispness and structure. In the mouth can be perceived the good correspondence to the nose, in particular bitter almond, apple, plum and peach. The attack of Collio Malvasia too has a pleasing crispness but, as opposed to Friulano, the perception of structure is evidently lighter, however having a remarkable agreeableness. Correspondence to the nose is very good and it will be possible to perceive clean flavors of apple, peach and pear, sometimes pineapple. In both cases it is evident the role played by alcohol - it can easily be as high as 13% - giving balance to the crispness of both wines and making them particularly dry.

 The final part of our tasting by contrast continues to reveal substantial differences between Friulano and Malvasia Istriana. The finish of Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano is still characterized by the flavor of bitter almond, also giving the wine its typical slightly bitter aftertaste, a pleasing quality in case it is not excessively intense. Persistence is generally very good, leaving in the mouth, besides the aforementioned bitter almond, flavors of apple, plum, peach and pear. A different finish is given by Collio Malvasia in which can be appreciated its pleasing crispness, with a good persistence characterized by the flavors of peach, apple, plum and pineapple. The sensation of structure is different in both wines: the finish of Friulano leaves to the mouth a more robust sensation of body than Malvasia Istriana. They however are agreeable and immediate wines, most of the times produced in order to favor the very good agreeableness the two varieties from Friuli Venezia Giulia can give to their wines.

 






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 147, January 2016   
Contrasts of Friulano and Malvasia IstrianaContrasts of Friulano and Malvasia Istriana Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 146, December 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 148, February 2016

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino Trebium 2014, Antonelli San Marco (Umbria, Italy)
Spoleto Trebbiano Spoletino Trebium 2014
Antonelli San Marco (Umbria, Italy)
Trebbiano Spoletino
Price: € 11.90 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense straw yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of medlar, apple and pear followed by aromas of peach, lychee, plum, hawthorn, pineapple, broom, honey, mineral and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, medlar and plum.
6 months in cask, 4 months in bottle.
Cold cuts, Pasta with meat, Roasted fish, Sauteed white meat



Montefalco Sagrantino 2010, Antonelli San Marco (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 2010
Antonelli San Marco (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 27.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of dried violet, blueberry, tobacco, chocolate, leather, vanilla, cinnamon, mace, pink pepper and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
24 months in cask, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Batàr 2013, Querciabella (Tuscany, Italy)
Batàr 2013
Querciabella (Tuscany, Italy)
Chardonnay (50%), Pinot Bianco (50%)
Price: € 65.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of banana, apple and plum followed by aromas of acacia, pear, grapefruit, butter, mango, bergamot, vanilla, hawthorn, honey and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, banana and plum.
Fermented in barrique, about 12 months of aging in barrique.
Roasted fish, Stuffed pasta with mushrooms, Roasted white meat, Stewed white meat



Palafreno 2012, Querciabella (Tuscany, Italy)
Palafreno 2012
Querciabella (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot
Price: € 140.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black currant, plum and black cherry followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, peony, chocolate, tobacco, vanilla, leather, pink pepper, mace and eucalyptus.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness,
Very persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
18 months in barrique, 6 months in bottle.
Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Cruasé Pinot Nero Brut Rosé Suspir 2011, La Piotta (Lombardy, Italy)
Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Cruasé Pinot Nero Brut Rosé Suspir 2011
La Piotta (Lombardy, Italy)
Pinot Nero
Price: € 13.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense cherry pink and nuances of cherry pink, moderate transparency, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, apple and raspberry followed by aromas of blueberry, plum, yeast, strawberry and cyclamen.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, raspberry and apple.
Refermented in bottle on its lees for 24 months.
Pasta with meat, Stewed fish, Sauteed meat, Mushroom soups



Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Talento Pinot Nero Brut 2011, La Piotta (Lombardy, Italy)
Oltrepo Pavese Metodo Classico Talento Pinot Nero Brut 2011
La Piotta (Lombardy, Italy)
Pinot Nero
Price: € 12.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and bread crust followed by aromas of raspberry, yeast, pineapple, hawthorn, pear and hazelnut.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, pineapple and plum.
Refermented in bottle on its lees for 24 months.
Pasta with fish, Stewed fish, Roasted white meat, Broiled crustaceans



Soldati La Scolca Metodo Classico Brut, La Scolca (Piedmont, Italy)
Soldati La Scolca Metodo Classico Brut
La Scolca (Piedmont, Italy)
Cortese
Price: € 18.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and bread crust followed by aromas of peach, almond, yeast, pear, hawthorn, broom and mineral.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and peach.
Refermented in bottle on its lees for more than 24 months.
Pasta with meat, Roasted meat, Roasted white meat, Stewed fish, Mushroom soups



Chianti Classico Fonterutoli 2013, Castello di Fonterutoli (Tuscany, Italy)
Chianti Classico Fonterutoli 2013
Castello di Fonterutoli (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (90%), Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot (10%)
Price: € 16.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, vanilla, mace and carob.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and raspberry.
12 months in barrique and cask.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Chianti Classico Castello Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2011, Castello di Fonterutoli (Tuscany, Italy)
Chianti Classico Castello Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2011
Castello di Fonterutoli (Tuscany, Italy)
Sangiovese (92%), Malvasia Nera, Colorino (8%)
Price: € 38.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cocoa, tobacco, mace, leather, menthol and vanilla.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and blackberry.
20 months in barrique and cask.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Valle d'Aosta Syrah Côteau la Tour 2013, Les Crêtes (Vallée d'Aoste, Italy)
Valle d'Aosta Syrah Côteau la Tour 2013
Les Crêtes (Vallée d'Aoste, Italy)
Syrah
Price: € 16.90 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of plum, violet, blackberry, raspberry, black pepper, chocolate and vanilla.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
12 months in cask, 6 months in bottle.
Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Broiled meat and barbecue, Cheese



Valle d'Aosta Chardonnay Cuvée Bois 2013, Les Crêtes (Vallée d'Aoste, Italy)
Valle d'Aosta Chardonnay Cuvée Bois 2013
Les Crêtes (Vallée d'Aoste, Italy)
Chardonnay
Price: € 35.65 Score:

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of banana, acacia and plum followed by aromas of apple, pear, butter, hawthorn, vanilla, hazelnut, grapefruit, praline and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, banana and plum.
Fermented in cask, 10 months of aging in cask, 8 months of aging in bottle.
Pasta with meat, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Cheese






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 147, January 2016   
Contrasts of Friulano and Malvasia IstrianaContrasts of Friulano and Malvasia Istriana Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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