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Monthly Archives: April 2011

  • Friuli Two - Puiatti


    Following our lengthy and at times slightly metaphysical visit to Jermann on the first day, it made an interesting contrast to be seeing the energetic and straight-talking Giovanni Puiatti on the second. The day dawned beautifully still and sunny in Cormans. After a short stroll around the town, we jumped in the car to drive the short distance to Puiatti's winery. Then I couldn't get the electronic handbrake to disengage. This is when I despair of new cars. What was wrong with the old lever-operated handbrake? The red ! mark glowed defiantly on the dash. Giovanni Puiatti arrived in his car. We realised we couldn't open the hotel car park gate - and the staff had all departed! So we had a hire car which wouldn't move locked inside a car park we couldn't leave. This didn't deter Signor Puiatti. He clambered into the Peugot and wrestled with the brake. It gave in. We approached the locked gate - it suddenly sprung into electric action. All good then, on our way! Puiatti's winery is as straightforwardly grounded as Jermann's is artfully astral in character. Black, metal outside, cool, stainless steel within. Giovanni proudly espouses the company motto: 'Save a tree, drink Puiatti!' because none of his wines ever see any oak treatment; he thought his winery might as well reflect this too. We trailed his 6'4 frame around the site as he proudly showed us the latest state of the art presses and bottling lines. Then a sudden flash of colour in the office staircase, and we were through to Giovanni's office. Slick, clean, black and white; all it was missing was a white cat! Before we kicked off the tasting, Victoria asked him why there were so many bottles of Campari in the office. This triggered a lengthy (and amusing) discourse on the merits of Campari Shakarato - (Campari, ice, a few drops of gin, shaken), Giovanni's favourite cocktail. We did eventually get back to the business in hand - i.e. wine tasting. His whites were fresh, clean, slick - truly just like his winery! Puiatti deliberately makes wine to match with food, so a little austerity in the style is a very good thing. Giovanni is carrying on the groundbreaking work his father Vittorio began, and is clearly very good at it. My favourite of the lineup was a Ribolla Gialla from his Ruttars vineyards - very clean with white peach notes , elegant and taut.Then it was time for lunch at Osteria Campiello up the road.


    Giovanni proposed an aperitif - Campari Shakarato, naturally!

  • Truli Friuli Deeply

    Last week I made my first ever visit to Friuli in North-Eastern Italy. Often eclipsed in the wine drinker's consciousness by Piemonte, Valpolicella and even the Veneto itself, Friuli is a fairly small area which directly adjoins Slovenia to the East and Austria to the North. We were disappointed as we left the A4 autostrada to see only flat lands as far as the eye could see. Vineyards, as we know, love a slope, and there are not many famous winegrowing areas which don't feature some undulating at some point. Armed with printed-off Via Michelin directions but crucially no map or sat nav, we meandered through sunny mid afternoon lanes bereft of people or traffic. We started to get lost, but enough encouraging roadsigns convinced us (well, me at least) to persevere in our search for Ruttars in Collio, home of Jermann. 'Nearly there, I'm sure' I reassured my passengers, at least three times. As it turns out, the Collio region is pretty small, but I think in the course of 40 minutes or so we probably saw most of it. As we finally looked up from the directions, we noticed we were now indeed surrounded by gentle hills. At the bottom of one lay Jermann's new winery. Silvio JermannWe were welcomed by the man himself, Silvio Jermann. Of Austrio - Slovenian descent, Silvio has become regarded as one of Italy's great white wine makers. He is also something of an enigma. In the course of a fascinating tour of his new winery, we were beguiled and dazzled by his vision. In the wine cellar, he has created rooms for each of his 'cru' wines - Vintage Tunina, Capo Martino, W... Dreams. The rooms are joined by an atrium featuring artefacts and other found objects Silvio has acquired over the years. A copy of Rudyard Kipling's 'If'; a book about how water speaks to us. Sculpture. 'You've made a hotel for your wines' observed Victoria Moore. Truly in this peaceful, almost mesmeric space, his wines are free to slumber, stress free, until the day they are bottled. Upstairs in the tasting room, the magic continued with the wines themselves. Vinnae, his Ribolla Gialla, was rich, refreshing and just about perfect as the sun began to set outside on the Collio hills. Pinot Bianco, slight spritz, lovely mouthfeel, with just a hint of peachy fruit. Pinot Grigio - often to my palate either drab and featureless, or over alcoholic and cloying, is none of these in Jermann's hands. It boasts the tell-tale bitter almond note, some fat but everything in balance. Sommelier Emily O'Hare seated on my right, tweeted "The bodies of these wines! size zeros here,all shape (curved) and substance."Behind us wind pipes, powered by the freshening breeze, hooted gently into life. Then to the main act - Vintage Tunina. 'Antonia' in the Friulan dialect, was a friend of Silvio's grandmother - (apparently Casanova also had a lover of the same name). Gambero Rosso describes the wine thus: "It is by now a blend of classical grapes Chardonnay and Sauvignon, friulanizzato with Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia and Picolit." VT 2008 was sublime, long, crying out for a big piece of fish. Which we were later to enjoy at Jermann's own Albergo, Vinnaeria La Baita. It is a one-off wine, from a one-off winemaker.

  • Puiatti

    Giovanni Puiatti carries on his father's groundbreaking work in North Eastern Italy, producing super-clean white wines perfect for matching with foods - able to develop in bottle without any help from oak - and a top Blanc de Blancs sparkling too.

  • Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2006

  • Soave Sereole Bertani

  • Enotria review in Harpers

    Emily O'Hare reviews our newly revamped portfolio in the latest edition of Harpers. She says, ‘I did not need to to cherry pick wines which expressed varietal character or unique terroir because all the wines were confidently doing this themselves…’ 'I went out on a high with Henschke Abbotts Prayer Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005. It was bright, powerful and built to last - the same could be said of this new portfolio.' You can read the whole review here.

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