First saw wine made at age 7, became a Master Gardner and now my favorite plant is Vitis vinifera. Published wine reviewer, teach wine appreciation at the local school district. And at my old age completed some WSET levels just because I love all things wine. I pour wine for various distributors, have worked with chefs pairing wine and food at corporate events and do private home parties too. Between events, I meet with winemakers in various states and countries.
"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
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!
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 ….
then there is no more.
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.
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
SO WHAT DOES THE WINE TASTE LIKE?
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
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.
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
Wine Mizer on Facebook for mini-reviews, industry news, food pairing
suggestions and more.
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