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CANTINA VOLPI, Lombardia
The sleep of reason, wrote Goya, brings forth fools. As far as much Pinot Grigio is concerned the seep of raisins brings
forth gruel. Emasculated, marrowless, milquetoast wines. So what have we here? Cool fermentation, a touch of skin
contact, a little wine to play with, but not enough to get your teeth into. The Trefili is decent, fruity and does the job.
The paradigm of good Pinot Grigio is the savoury, richly nutty style from Alto-Adige or Collio. And it’ll cost you now.
PINOT GRIGIO TREFILI
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The Bearable Lightness of Drinking – Tipples at 12% and under
Txakoli, Ameztoi – fermented sea spray
Blanc de Morgex Vini Estremi – on the rocks, high altitude, low alcohol
Terrano, Zidarich – maximum minerals
Poulsard, L’Enfant Terrible, Ganevat– palely loitering, bridally blushing, naughtily nice
Riesling, Donnhoff – magisterial and ethereal
Mauvais Temps, Carmarans – naturally nerveux
INTERVIEW WITH A COLFONDO PROSECCO
Let’s start from your name. Why are you called Colfòndo?
Because at the bottom of the bottle there are my fermentation yeasts.
Why are they there? Did they fall?
Exactly that. Once they have finished fermenting they fall and sink to the bottom. Everything revolves around my yeasts, they give me the
bubbles, keep me young and make me sweet.
That’s nice, so Colfòndo is a name that says a lot about you. Your origins are from Treviso or did your ancestors come from other
countries, perhaps from America?
My origins are Treviso DOC, my ancestors were born here as myself. I was created following family tradition.
And do you know, more or less, when?
I do not know exactly, but in my family we have always been like this. The second fermentation in the bottle is a very old method to
produce sparkling wine and a lot of things distinguish me from my brother Charmat, which is all technique and technology. Charmat
needs machines, autoclaves, filters, isobaric systems for bottling instead I am very simple and undemanding. I do most of things on my
own, I just need a little ‘sugar to make my bubbles and then in solitude, slowly, I rest in a cool and dark place.
Is it true that your grandparents were born during Easter?
Yes, the bottle fermentation takes place at Easter because spring arrives, the temperatures rise, the yeasts wake up and get to work.
So you’ve got a family behind that has always set the births for Colfòndo to be born at Easter. It’s still like that or are your modern
cousins born at other times of the year?
For those who respect tradition, like my family, the time of birth is only at Easter but there are many others who are born in all different
months of the year, or in other ways. We are serious about respecting tradition and principles handed down. The only option I have is the
modernity of analytical control, which was not there before. I was born at Easter and come simply from the grapes, I’m not filtered, I’m
not clarified and I do not undergo any processing. The grapes are treated on the vine only with the products allowed in organic and
You have enjoyed a healthy crop, the sun, do you remember what it was like when you were still bunches hanging on the vine?
Yes I remember. I was in the midst of chaos, the grass was high and an indefinable number of insects that tickled me. Maurizio calls it
biodiversity. There are many of us, from the grass and wild plants to microorganisms. There is a nice environment, there are many
interactions, exchanges, competitions and races.
Competitions? In what way? For water resources?
No, competition at the level of micro-organisms, diseases, yeast, bacteria from photosynthesis, as in every part of the world there are
good and bad ... we have our beliefs, our Bible born from EM (effective microorganisms), it’s the same all over the world, what do you
Did you get ill when you were a grape? Did you also catch downy mildew or powdery mildew?
You know, when there is high humidity like here in the Piave area, it is easy to get sick. This year, 2012 in particular, I had some minor
ailments early in May and June but then nothing until September, it went well. I have my good and strong antibodies, my phytoalexins are
Tell me about your journey from the vineyard to the cellar, how did you become the must?
I was macerated in part as a red wine and I was with the must and marc for quite a while, at least for a week.
Let me ask you a spicy question, but what did you do on the skins for a week?
Eh eh, I extracted everything, I gnawed away everything! I am a passionate wine. At the end of fermentation I was pressed.
I hear a lot about 251elabel anhydride being added to the wine, do you know it?
No, the only one I have is the one I produce with my yeasts. I do not need any added. Of course I have to be well dressed and equipped to
make my way, a bit like a mountaineer going to climb in the high mountains. As he carries everything he needs to live, so do I. I do a little
maceration in order to enrich the tannins, thus increasing the antioxidant fraction that comes from the lysis of yeast. I do not undress with
clarifications and I do not get filtered, in fact I am cloudy and ready for my climb, returning to the example of the climber.
The tannins you are talking about, how do I perceive them when I drink you? Usually when we talk about tannins we think of red
Being a 251elabeli, saying tannin is a big word but there is some extraction from the grape seeds or the skins during the light pressing.
You realize that there are tannins because that oxidative note is missing which you can sometimes find. The tannin in fact preserves my
Sorry if I go on a tangent, I’d like to go back to the moment of passion with the marc. After you’ve had your fun and you have
gnawed it completely, do you need to rest?
Yes, at the end of fermentation I am put into stainless steel tanks and they continue to stir me every two or three days to keep me always
dirty. It ‘a clean dirty, however, because they are my good yeasts.
Easter is approaching, are you happy to be put in a bottle?
Before Easter I also take a nice hit of cold. Maurizio makes me stay all winter in a tank outside, so, taking advantage of the low winter
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temperatures, I begin to stabilize the tartaric acid naturally.
How do you feel in there? Do you feel comfortable or a little ‘tight?
I like staying in the bottle, I’m a little ‘more pampered, then they touch me often, they turn me, I dress me up with my beautiful label and
then .... I go into beautiful local restaurants and bars!
You must be an earth sign ... When you come out of your bottle, is there a special glass that you would like to find, where to dive
The glass itself is not important, it is irrelevant, I can go from a mug on the table without a tablecloth, to a crystal goblet, to an ISO glass.
I express myself everywhere and I always have my say.
Your aromas do not change if I use one glass rather than another?
Actually, they really change more based on how I am.
Now I will make you mine! I smell scents of fresh yeast, those that hydrate to make bread and then a sweetness almost like linden honey
that is not nauseating because it’s fresh, it’s something alive. I agree with you, they are wisteria flowers, a light scent in the wind, very
delicate. What a strange thing, you’re a product of Treviso, you were born here but you remind me of the light windy days in Tuscany,
where the scent of wisteria and irises arrived at the front door. Lime honey instead reminds me of the tree-lined street in Florence. It is
true that you never know where we’re traveling with you.
Are you pleased that the people who drink you propose certain combinations, are you happy to meet some new dish, or not?
It can give me pleasure, but it is not what I want. Everyone has their tastes, drinking and eating habits, I can not say how I have to be
drunk, if for an aperitif or paired with something. Maurizio drinks me with fish, with meat, with vegetables, with sweets if he wants a dry
wine. He knows me, he takes me for what I am.
Let’s say your family is recognizable by these features of vivacity and freshness. You, also, do not disdain being left in the bottle to
evolve as your yeast and this component of tannin extracted by maceration, allow you to keep for a long time. Can you place in a
space-time an original Colfòndo?
As a company, I would say my brother from Coste Piane winery belonging to Loris Follador, Costa di Là belonging to a friend, Ernesto,
Gatti, and many others. My vine is called Glera, former 252elabeli, and it is the same for all the Prosecco DOC to DOCG. Colfòndo is
only a company name to identify a production method which is not yet official. We are working on that too.
Why are you in a clear bottle?
To be seen.
Are you an exhibitionist?
A little ‘yes, I have to make myself known so that’s why I need to show everything, even my color.
And the problem of taste light? The problems of oxidation?
Well, if I can keep myself healthy and beautiful with the clear bottle, I’ll become a myth! I have my yeasts that protect me everywhere. The
sponge effect that will in time, once the lysis has finished, absorb the light effect. I have all the characteristics to be a long-lived wine,
more than a great wine, and I hope I can prove it.
Do we have to keep you standing or lying?
Always lying. And sometimes I like to be turned, always a bit shaken, in a cool environment.
What are the comments you hear most often?
Who drinks me says I’m special, I’m not a wine for everyone.
So do you feel understood in your peculiarity?
Yes, I am a bit of a difficult wine, I know I have my personality but once my origins are clarified and my story told, everything is easier. I
have no interest in being a wine for everyone, I just want to be myself. If they do not like me, I’m glad they choose a different 252elabeli,
fortunately there are many. I have my own personality, I come from a careful, healthy and conscious agriculture. I know my stuff.
You know that the more we go on, the more I seem to be like you? I can tell you that you are like those children who grow up in
freedom and then, when they are grown up, they are able to express themselves free from constraints?
Of course that is what I want, that is what I am as well as Maurizio, my creator.
I like Colfòndo, I will never leave. Thanks for reciprocating my love. I can not go away until I have drank and toasted with Maurizio, who
says something very interesting.
I am very happy to hear this because I love Colfòndo in its entirety, I like to move it, and drink it complete with its yeasts. It also likes to
be drunk whole and not deprived of some part. Healthy and wholesome yeasts derived from agriculture without chemicals. This is also
MORE USEFUL WINE SURVEYS
A revolutionary wine survey about wine surveys has once again exposed the vast chasm in our knowledge about the drinking habits of Joe and
Joanna public and thereby pointed out the irrefutable need for more wine surveys. Incontrovertible research demonstrates that people living
below the poverty line tended to spend less on a bottle of wine than plutocrats, Russian oligarchs and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was further
discovered that drinks advertising aimed at babies and people in a vegetative state tended to be less effective than that targeted at
impressionable twenty somethings and alcoholics. Other extraordinary revelations include the fact that all women drink Pinot Grigio to a man,
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that Australian wine is physically louder than French wine and Château Latour would sell far more bottles off supermarket shelves if it were
varietally labelled Posh Frog Cabernet Merlot and sported a day-glow back label explaining that the wine could be drunk with red meat or
poultry or quaffed as an aperitif. Meanwhile another survey which proudly announced that consumers could be profiled into several fine
discrete socio-economic segments (Calais hypermarket; £3.99ers, £4.99ers, £5.99ers and rich as Croesus) has been trumped by the new
brilliant ground breaking and entirely inoffensive categorization by Wine Omniscience:*Old Fart always goes to the Mouldy Cheese Wine
Bar in Fleet Street, orders a bottle of house label crusty claret with his well-done steak and a glass of Ten Year Manky (port) with the
Stilton;*Red Bull Bint drinks a glass of Chardonnay, a Red Bull, a vodka, a Red Bull, a cocktail, a Red Bull, throws up in the men’s toilet and
passes out. She comes from Essex, her name is Sharon Tracy, she’s a genuine bottle blonde and takes eight weeks hen night holiday in Ibiza
every year. *Brandma is aged 70 and upwards and spends all her time comparative shopping in supermarkets. She has accumulated so many
reward points that she could fly to the moon and half way back. She always drinks own label and the cheapest brands and, in her spare time,
appears in Tesco adverts. *Wine Nerd has not only tasted the wine, but visited the vineyard and arranged for his ashes to be scattered there. He
is a living compendium of Parker points and riveting trivia. *Ironist – buys Californian blush wines and bog standard labels because… like
um... wine, is like… sort of pretentious (like) and it’s “cool not to be interested in anything interesting”; *Trend Junkie – One who rides the
hobby horses of journalists off in all directions etc. Etc.
Meanwhile, one on-trade wine company is trialling B.O.R.A.T (Business Outlook Retail Audit Tracker). The value of this system was neatly
summarised by account director, Viktor Hotelier, who remarked “Iz nice!” The system, operated by a management drone in head office,
uploads all sales data, analyses it scrupulously and within a mere six months gives an authoritative breakdown of the information: “Already
we’ve learned incredibly quickly, for example, that Italian trattorias and pizzerias sell Italian wine, that haughty French sommeliers tend to buy
Bordeaux and Burgundy for their lists and that cheap Chinese restaurants are still under the impression that Piesporter Michelsberg is a wine.
The huge advantage of this system is that we can instantaneously download the data into the microchips installed in the heads of our sales
managers and scramble their brains”.
They’ve also introduced a new loyalty card and launched an advertising campaign called “Chip, Pin & Chin-Chin”. Every time a nominated
gatekeeper (otherwise known as bar or restaurant manager) uses the card to order online, reward points will be given by the particular brands
(who are sponsoring the card) as long as only the brands are ordered. This is known as “golden brandcuffing” and is said to breed positive
brand awareness. The system is totally secure and information collated will only be shared with future employers, the intelligence services,
credit rating companies and dating agencies.
A spokesperson for Global Brands Incorporated hailed the importance of the results: “If we didn’t find this information out, we’d surely
have to invent it. Ultimately, we can envisage a situation wherein there will be as many demographic categories as there are drinkers
which will enable us to continue with our “twin track upside down business to business ground control to Major Tom” approach:
demythologising wine whilst simultaneously proselytising the consumer to explore the wonderful wide world of our brands or, more
simply, recalibrating the brands to fit the customers and recalibrating the customers to fit the brands. And the ultimate objective of all
these endeavours? “Upsegmentation of all underindexed drinking categories”. And what is that in real English? “More less choice.” Pinot
Grigio for all!
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Cuisine of Friuli…
Friuli is a small region on the border of Austria and Slovenia where the influences of neighbouring countries have been assimilated into
the local cooking. With principal raw materials including potatoes, turnips, barley, corn and pigs this might be described as cuisine of the
poor. There are meals without much inspiration, but natural and free of sophistication. A typical Friuli meal would begin with a steaming
bowl of soup. The soups are the most interesting part of the local cuisine being flavoursome, simple to reproduce and are often, to the
Mediterranean palate, surprising. There are soups, minestrine (broth with small pasta), minestrone (vegetable soup), sweet soups, hearty
soups, delicate soups such as paparot, soups for every taste and every occasion. The most distinctive is perhaps, “jota,” which lends itself
to many variations. The basic recipe calls for beans and sauerkraut with the addition of cornmeal, all of which is dressed with the “pestat,”
a mixture of chopped lard, onion, sage, parsley and garlic. “Jota” can be enriched with meat or pork rind (it then becomes a single, very
substantial dish) or with vegetables and barley. Perhaps the height of heartiness is reached with “minestra di fagioli” (bean soup). The
beans, small and speckled with red, are shaped like little cushions and flavoured with lard and various herbs.
As mentioned already pig is king and the entire king is used. “Marcundela,” a typical sausage of Friuli, is comparable to the
“mazzafegati” of the Marches and the Abruzzi and with other common salamis from other regions of Italy. The mixture is made with the
kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, spleen, giblets and fat of the pig, encased in the natural, aged intestine of the pig. The sausage is cut into
slices and fried in butter, then served with a plate of pasta or an omelette. Piglicious as Homer (Simpson) might droolingly say. The
“muset co le brovade” is a classic local pork dish. “Muset” is a small sausage flavoured with spices, similar to cotechino (fresh pork
sausage) and, like cotechino, it is boiled until the casing breaks and the meat comes out and starts to crumble. The “brovade,” a speciality
of Friuli, require long, knowledgeable workmanship. They are white turnips harvested after the first frost of the year. When they are used
they are shredded with the appropriate grater. Their decisive flavour combines wonderfully with pork. With regard to pork, ‘prosciutto di
San Daniele’, with its characteristic violin shape, is of international renown. Rose-coloured and sweet, with very little fat, it has a
delicate flesh and a mild flavour, which comes from the particular salting and the climatic and environmental conditions. Residues of salt
are left on the surface of the prosciutto, which are then exposed to humid winds that come from the mountains and help the natural
penetration of the salt into the meat.
In the area around Gorizia, the Easter period tradition of cooking prosciutto in bread, probably of Czech origin, has survived. It is baked
in the oven of an artisan’s shop, preferably a wood-burning oven, and it is removed when the crust of the bread has reached a proper
golden colour. It is served hot, or warm, cut into slices including the crust, with grated radish on top. In terms of meats other than pork,
Friuli boasts traditional recipes for farmyard animals and game. One of these is “piccione in scrigno” (pigeon in a casket), which requires
a long preparation using the following ingredients: a white potato large enough to hold a young pigeon, the liver and giblets of the
pigeon, lard, of lean prosciutto crudo (cured ham), porcini mushrooms, parsley, capers, two or three pickled cucumbers, sage and
rosemary. It should be served very hot with a garnish of black verjuice grapes. “Capriolo in salmì” (roebuck marinated in herbs and
wine) is another local specialty. A sauce is prepared with the wine from the marinade, the meat scraps, green chilli peppers, pickled
cucumbers and anchovies. It should be finished with the sauce and served with potato dumplings sautéed in the refined sauce of the
The cheeses of Friuli also boast ancient traditions. The most important among them is Montasio, the most typical of all the cheeses of
Friuli, protected by the DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin) label. This cheese takes its name from Altopiano di Montasia, an
isolated area on the north-eastern border among the Alpine peaks, in an area protected by the tops of the Jof Fuart and the Jof Montasio,
both of them over 2700 metres (9000 feet). It is a cooked cheese, obtained from cow’s milk. The cream is allowed to rise from the
evening milking and the milk is mixed with the milk from the morning milking. At the end of this first phase, the curd is deposited in the
appropriate hoops, where it is kept under pressure for several hours. During the course of the operations the moulds are turned
frequently. The next step is salting, first in brine and then dry, before passing to the ageing period. Fresh Montasio, da tavola (table
cheese) is ready after a month and a half. After six months it becomes mezzano (medium) and after a year it becomes 254mprovi
(mature). The cheese is straw yellow and crumbly. The cylindrical form Ricotta affumicata (smoked ricotta cheese) is also produced.
This is a typical preparation of ricotta, common in various cheese factories in the mountains of Friuli, very typical of Val Canale in the
area crossed by the Udine-Tarvisio motorway, above all in the towns of Pradis di Sopra and Malborghetto. The ricotta, made from cow’s
milk whey after the processing of Montasio, is compressed into brick-shapes and smoked with beech wood aromatised with juniper and
herbs. A tasty table cheese, smoked ricotta is also used to accompany typical local first courses such as gnocchi di patate (potato
dumplings) and “cialzons” (stuffed pasta). “Frico Friulano” (melted cheese fritters) is dish whose origins are tied to the poverty of this
land. Today it is a compulsory starter in traditional meals in Friuli, but its origins are humble. The farmers, before bringing the herds to
pasture, would leave a pan with leftover cheese rinds on the hot ashes of the hearth. When they returned, they found the cheese rinds
melted, transformed into a sort of golden fritter. Today it is prepared in two ways: a few spoonfuls of grated Montasio cheese are poured
over melted butter and browned, or pieces of potato are first added and then flattened when they are tender, and then covered with
Sweets may be last but are certainly not least. The people of Friuli and the people of Venezia Giulia could seriously debate the
differences between the “gubana”, a focaccia cake typical of Friuli, and the “putizza” which is prepared in a similar way and is made
only in the area of Trieste. The truth is that there is more than one kind of “gubana.” The one made in the valleys of Natisone is different
from that of Cividale, and in Trieste the “putizza” has been absorbed into the “presnitz” (sweet pastry roll with raisins, nuts and candied
fruit), which is of Hungarian origin. To complicate matters, sometimes sugar is used as a sweetener and sometimes honey is used. Apart
from this small complication, the two areas are united by a series of more or less similar biscuits. And among the high-ranking cakes
there are the great cakes of Viennese tradition, from the “Sacher” to the “Dobos.”
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