COF2011: Day 1, and a glorious day for Old White Wine…

This is what it’s all about. I was hoping to sink my teeth into some great aged whites and Day 1 did NOT disappoint…

Starting at Valentino Butussi, we were fed and entertained by Filippo Butussi, who runs the cellar and his father Angelo. In addition to letting us taste his freshest vintages, we were also treated to some real gems:

21233877-P1020646We tasted the ’07, ’03 and ’99 (Tocai) Friulani… The thing to keep in mind here is that these wines were never “made” to age. The corks are shorter and not the type you would typically use for a wine meant to age. Nonetheless. the ’07 was stunning and so typical, bucking the idea that these “fresh” wines are dead after a year.

Filippo explained that the so-called “great vintages” are usually the warmer, riper ones. These vintages don’t necessarily make the wines best suited to age. 2003 was considered great for its heat and sun, but the ’03 Tocai was lower in acid and held less freshness over the years, but still was facinating in a rich, caramel kind of way.

Then there is the ’99. Oh, my, the ’99… Beautiful and fresh for an 11 year old Tocai…Perfect color, with almond and hints of petrol and slate on the palate with a distinct ripe Delicious apple finish. Wow.

We then tried two Pinot Grigii… the ’00 and the ’96…

The ’00 showed crema pasticcieria and just a hint of petrol with the stony mineral backbone still very much present, teased by a hint of sage. Perfect.

THe ’96 was showing its age a little more, but the gunpowder on the nose was fascinating and the wine was still balanced, not showing too much oxidized flavors or heat on the palate.

We were all obviously fascinated…

21233829-P1020634

We finished off the evening at Adriano Gigante’s home for dinner where he also dug into the cellar to open his LAST bottle of 1995 Friulano…

21235721-P1020665Still very much alive, the ’95 showed (again) that almost sweet vanilla cream (crema pasticcieria) and an tiny hint of petrol and apricot preserves, The finish was long balanced and creamy with hints of mineral. Again this was a wine made to be drunk young, still delicious after more than a decade in the bottle.

We finished off the Old White WInes with the 2001 Friulano “Storico” which was the only vintage this old-vine Tocai that spent time in wood: 10% of the production was aged in Tonneau. It was clean and delicious, with just a hint of oakiness… maybe just a touch more vanilla than the all-stainless Tocai. The finish was a tiny bit hot and was missing a little of that unfolding complexity that would complete the package, but still a great aged white.

Cant wait to see what Day 2 brings!

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