February is a big month for Italian wine events in New York City. This week the trade went to Slow Wine, next week is Vino 2017 and Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri, arguably the three biggest Italian wine events during the year. It is often hard to attend these events without a plan. My plan usually entails seeing clients, saying hello to friends and discovering new wineries. Often I am surprised to discover wineries with extensive histories. That was certainly the case with Conte d’Attimis-Maniago, a winery I found last year at Vino. Located in the Friuli Venezia Giulia in a town called Buttrio, in the province of Udine, they have a very long history that began on February 15, 1585. Apparently they have links to the town of Aquileia, in the Veneto. A marvelous place that I visited some years ago. Home to Roman ruins and a fantastic cathedral. The subject of another blog post, Aquileia is one of the great little know sites of Italy.
At the winery, they make wines using indigenous varieties from Friuli such as Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia, Picolit, Verduzzo friulano, Pignolo, Schioppettino, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, and Tazzelenghe. They also make Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet.
Their area has very ancient soils which are the result of the retreating sea. The complex soil is called ponca and has both sand and clay as well as sediment. The land is also hit by the maritime breezes from the Adriatic sea. These special characteristics help to make the wines of very high quality. White wines from Friuli usually garner the most interest but I decided to focus on the reds that day.
I liked the wines I tasted particularly the Pignolo and the Refosco. Pignolo is an ancient grape variety that almost disappeared but was brought back by a couple of wineries. The grapes are often left to raisin on mats for 40 days before being made into a red wine of good structure. It ages in 500 liter oak barrels and then smaller French oak. Ripe and rich fruit aromas with savory balsamic notes characterize this wine. It would be great with roasted meats. I don’t know if the winery will be back next week at Vino but I do hope so. I would like to try many more of their interesting wines. I suggest you do as well if you go to the show and happen upon this winery. Alternatively, you can find some of their wines perhaps at a store near you.