"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.” …..   Khalil Gibran

Imagine a world in which, one by one, pigments began mysteriously disappearing and eventually, artists could paint using just one color.  And every musical instrument could only play one note: “C”.  Roses came in only one type: shrub and in orange.  And every street, everywhere, was “one way” and going in the same direction!

Front Label
If you love wine, you must love grapes. They can’t all be your favorite.  But they should all be  respected.  Many were here, the gift of nature, before we were.  And when we learned all the fun things we could do with them, some became our favorites, what are known as the “international varieties” of the wine trade.  Problem is, production follows demand.  And when demand becomes too narrowly focused, production of some wines suffers.  It becomes a spiral downward and then ….

And then there is no more.

So thanks go out to Emilio Buffon who has invested his life’s passion and resources to the revival of indigenous vines such as Cividin, Sciaglin and Ucelut (for white wine) and Forgiarin, Cjanorie, Cordenossa, Fumat and Piculit Neri (for the reds).  He discovered some of these varietals, in a state of abandon, more than thirty-five years ago, at his winery in northeast Italy. They had long been neglected, overgrown by undergrowth. Not pruned and not tended.  With government assistance, he worked to identify these vines. He worked the earth to restore it to health and propagated the vines, replanted them and eventually made wine from the varietals. Most were indigenous to this area within Italy and close to becoming extinct. At a time when “international varietals were increasingly being blended with the popularly accepted grapes of their home countries, there was little interest in this and great financial risk.  Long since forgotten, there was no “play book” for making these wines.  No taste standard.  Just trial and hopefully no errors. You poured the finished wine and a new play book opened.
But the thought that these gifts of nature (which were and are unique to this area at the foothills of the province of Pordenone on the banks of the Tagliamento river) were doomed to extinction in his own lifetime, that was a loss Bulfon could not be party to.  Currently, 11 of his almost 16 hectares are devoted to the cultivation of native Friulan recovered varieties. And on May 6, 1991 the Minister for Agriculture included the Forgiarin, Sciaglin, Ucelut and Piculit  Neri varieties in the National Catalogue of Vines.  

For me, it offered up an aroma of woodsy brambled berries. On the palate, a very bright tart cherry taste.  Others pick up herbaceous and smoky vanilla notes, red berries and pomegranate. One taster commentated about the wine’s “strong” (another “mild”) minerality, and a hint of blackberry and blackcurrant.  Another referenced a “milk chocolatey mocha” character. We all agreed that tannins were noticeable, but didn’t agree on the level, with me stating they were mild-plus to moderate.

Rear Label
Not having had this wine for many years and not remembering the experience, I was concerned with noting its “markers” --- those dominant characters I would remember if blind tasting this wine again and then challenged to identify it.  Good for me. Not fair to the wine, perhaps, when writing about it.  It finished crisply with a good balance of fruit to acidity.

There’s something else we can agree about and it’s that without Emilio Bulfon our world would be even more “grape franchised” than it is, and without the opportunity to explore those areas of our palate that we yet may not know can be so enjoyable. Emelio Bulfon’s work was love made visible, and we can be the beneficiaries.

………….. Jim
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Emelio Bulfon Winery:          https://www.bulfon.it/en/
Production Area:                     Friuli Gave, Western Foothills
Vineyard Location:                 Colle;Pinzano al Tagliamento
                                                Valeriano; Castelnovo del Friuli
Classification:                         IGT
Training:                                 Double & Simple Guyot
Density:                                  4000 Vines Per Hectare
Number of Buds:                    12-14 Per Vine
Yield:                                      70-80 Quintals per Hectare   
ALC:                                       13%
ARP:                                       $20.
Imported By:                           Imports In., Chicago IL.
Note: 1 Quintal equals .1102 Tons and 1 Hectare equals 2.471 acres.        

Recommended (by the vineyard) Pairings: Meat dishes, game or fowl.  With its crisp acidity and bright, clean fruit, I would enjoy this, however, with an Italian style charcuterie with dry salami, hard cheese and vegetable

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