The wines of Friuli/ Friuli Venezia Giulia

Bankers to the impossible

The November ‘bring any bottle you like’ version of Overton’s blind tasting group produced three categories of wines – bankers (wines you had a chance of spotting), ‘on a good day’ (if the force is with you) and ‘you have got to be joking’.  Plus one in the ‘mission impossible’ class as well. Most quality

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Gravner’s orange wine at L’Ortolan

Janet and I have been meaning to go to L’Ortolan, the Michelin-starred restaurant near Reading, for longer than I can remember, a couple of decades perhaps.  It sprang to fame as John Burton-Race’s place (long before celebrity beckoned) but today it is in the talented hands of Alan Murchison.  Janet tried to book online for

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Rare Italian varieties

It is a great moment when a book is published which genuinely marks a substantive change in our knowledge. For decades, wine people have been dependent on Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson’s The world atlas of wine and the same team’s Oxford companion to wine as their basic reference books.  Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand

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Classic, regional, new world?

November’s Bring a Bottle Club was a somewhat random affair – two French classics (Sancerre and a Loire Cabernet Franc), some good regionally important wines (Friulano from Friuli, Grenache from Roussillon, Treixadura from Ribeiro, a Xarel-lo/ Riesling blend from Penedes) and a brace of New World wines (Californian Merlot, White Bordeaux blend from the Cape).  

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Sparkling wine in the dark

Andover Wine Friends’ March tasting was designed to have some fun while tasting a range of sparkling wines blind.  It certainly achieved the first aim. The blind tasting part showed some the difficulties of this game all too clearly: 1.  Sparkling pink wines don’t give a lot away Apart from an occasional difference in colour

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Friuli in overview

Decanter’s Friuli day featured both a master class by Peter McCombie MW and the chance to taste a large range of wines from about 30 producers from this most northeasterly region of Italy.  This was a good complement to our recent Mario Schiopetto tasting which showed how house style is important as grape variety.  Peter,

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North Italian tour

With a theme as big as North Italy, the Overton blind tasting group, where each member brings one or more bottles without much conferring, could have been very wide-ranging.  We had a fairly representative sample, though no sparkling wine (Prosecco, Franciacorta, Asti) and one obvious classic missing – Amarone della Valpolicella.  The selection was stronger

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Real Italy

When we think of Italian wine, we have established regions in mind – Valpolicella, Soave or Sicily if we are stood in front of a supermarket shelf, Barolo, Montalcino or Montepulciano, perhaps,  if we are talking to a specialist wine merchant.  In these contexts it is inevitably the regions which produce high volume at low

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Truly, madly, Friuli

Ok, sorry about the title!  The Italian region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, to give it its full title and restore its dignity, is one of Italy’s politically semi-autonomous areas, in this case on the far northeast border.  Its neighbour to the east is Slovenia, with Austria to the north.   It suffered a great deal in the

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Bocca di lupo – a friendly wolf

Central London has been fortunate with new wine-related venues recently.  Alongside the tremendous success of Terroirs, near Charing Cross, Bocca di lupo, a splendid restaurant with excellent Italian food and wine, is to be found in a side street near Piccadilly Circus.  With both venues booking is pretty much essential – which tells you how

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