Getting the opportunity to visit a winery during the harvest period is a treat! This past September I brought friends to visit the Tenuata Tomasella winery, on the border of the Veneto and Friulan states of Italy. Here, in the small town of Mansue’, the vineyard grows behind a beautiful castle painted red and white. They have a whopping 150 hectares, producing both international grapes like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, as well as grapes indigenous to the region like Friulano, Refosco and Verduzzo. Annette, a friend who works for the vineyard, brought us around and explained the history of the family and the vineyards. We took pictures of the grapes as they were brought into the cantina and poured into the machines to be de-stemmed and then pressed.
After the tour, we set ourselves up outside to enjoy the sun and taste the wines. Annette first poured the 2011 Friulano, a crisp and clean white which smelled of ripe pear and honeydew melon. It had a nice acidity making it a great summer wine to be paired with fresh veggies. Next we tried the 2005 `Le Bastie,’ an aged Friulano which reminded me of cream soda! It is left in old and then new oak wood for 11 months giving the wine a round and full taste which lingers for a long time on the tongue. I admit it was warm and intriguing, and like all of Tenuta Tomasellas wines, it carried a great salt minerality. The following wine was a sparkling rose, `Ose,’ and is a blend of Refosco and late harvest Verduzzo. The delicateness of strawberry and sweet red grapefruit perfumed in our noses and the refreshing bubbles makes this one of their best selling wines. In fact, it won one of Italys’ top 100 wines this year, chosen by the Merano Wine Festival crew. The light cotton candy taste of this demi-sec wine (or semi-sweet) would make it pair perfectly with Asian food.
As a final treat, Annette poured us a glass of the Tenuta’s version of Chinato, named ‘Chinomoro.’ A selection of 2o different herbs like rhubarb, bitter orange and coriander are blended into barrique-aged merlot grapes. The result is bitter sweet, like that of coca-cola, and is rich and full of flavor. An after dinner treat, this concoction is great for its curative properties and goes great with chocolate!