At the tail end of the International Wine Tourism Conference, we drove from Zagreb, Croatia through Slovenia for a three day visit to Friuli. Winter had yet to loosen its grip. We came from a snowy Zagreb to a chilly, rainy Friuli. Even with inclement weather, Friuli is magnificent. We began our second day with a visit to Rosazzo Abbey, a simply stunning facility nestled alongside the church of San Pietro Martire dating back to 1180. It’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by its splendor. After leaving the church, we walked across the courtyard to the tasting room with its sweeping views of vineyards and green countryside. Rosazzo gets its name from the roses that seem to be everywhere. We tasted the wines of Livio Felluga: Rosazzo, a blend of Friulano with Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco, Malvasia and Ribolla Gialla while our hosts shared the history of this beautiful place with us.
Next, we paid a visit to Zorzettig Winery, just outside Cividale del Friuli. Annalisa Zorzettig was enthusiastic, gracious and passionate about her winery. We began with some bubbles in the cave before adjourning to a dining room for bountiful snacks and wine tasting. Their 2011 Myò Ribolla Gialla was crisp and well balanced and their grappa was out of this world. It was lunch time, and off we went to Relais Zorzettig for pasta and polenta that really hit the spot on a brisk and damp day.
After lunch we took the short ride to Cividale del Friuli, with a history that includes Julius Caesar and dates back to the fourth century B.C. We crossed the Devil’s Bridge and soaked up the culture in this hub, including a visit to the 16th century cathedral. We spent time at the Friuli Colli Orientali e Ramandolo DOC Wines Consortium for a tasting and marveled at the immense collection of wines there. We each left with a copy of the beautiful book Colli Orientali del Friuli, filled with glorious images and the history of this wine region.
From Cividale we went to Nimis for a visit to I Comelli, where Paolo Comelli led us through his ultra modern facility and tasted us on his incredible wines, including Friulano, Picolit, Refosco and Ramandolo. A hearty meal followed with more members of the Comelli family at their Agriturismo, capped off with their grappa. We spent the night there and following breakfast continued our Friulian adventure.