Tuesday May 15th 2018. “On the occasion of the preview of the Spìule Chardonnay Riserva Giulio Locatelli DOC FCO 2016, this year we decided to dedicate ourselves to sweet wines: – said Marta Locatelli, owner of the Tenuta di Angoris – wines that in the last century have been relegated to meditation wines, sometimes to end a meal, and produced in minimal quantities and often expensive. But history teaches us that this has not always been the case.”

The Spìule Chardonnay previews began in 2015 with a day focused on Chardonnay, in 2016 we studied native red wines for ageing, while last year’s theme combined the wine history of some native white grape varieties produced from Georgia to Valle d’Aosta

“This year again – continued Marta Locatelli – the objectives of the research were to recover the roots of an ancient history of many vines in the Friuli region and rediscover its great potential for expression demonstrated Tuesday with the Picolit, a historical sweet wine. That’s why Angoris, on the occasion of the preview of the Spìule Chardonnay, wanted to dedicate a reflection to these wines, bringing in a panel of tasters. Next to the local Picolit and Ramandolo, there was a Czech wine, an Austrian, the wine of Tokaj (with which Cormons is twinned) the French Sauternes, the Passito of Pantelleria and the Ice wine that in Canada is produced by Ziraldo, son of emigrants from Fagagna (homeland of the Picolit, thanks to count Asquini)”.

Tuesday, May 15th after the greetings and the introduction of the owner , Stefano Cosma (professional taster, wine writer and wine historian) highlighted how in recent centuries sweet wines were actually wines that accompanied the whole meal.

“During the 18th and 19th centuries we find many “sweet” wines, even the Refosco! – Cosma explained – The pairings with food were very strange. An anecdote concerns the famous musician Beethoven who, as can be read in his diary of November 5th 1823, when he lived in Vienna drank the Friulian Picolit paired with the oysters of Trieste. The Picolit: The most famous Friulian wine of the past. The first wine to be bottled and sold in Europe, from the mid-18th century onwards. Those who tried it compared it to the Hungarian Tokaji. The Picolit common on the hills of Rocca Bernarda was hit by Phylloxera, and was rescued at the beginning of the 20th century in some vineyards in Cormòns. And here we approach Angoris, an estate located in the municipality of Cormòns, which is a few hundred metres from Medea and owns vineyards in Rocca Bernarda!”

This is the order of the white wines which were tasted: Ryzlink Vlašský – Slámové Víno 2015 (Czech Republic), Ramandolo DOCG 2014 Giovanni Dri Il Roncat (Italy), Ziraldo Vidal Ice Wine 2014 (Canada), Sauternes Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru 2013 (France), Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese 2012 (Austria), Ben Rié Passito of Pantelleria Donnafugata DOP 2012 (Italy), Picolit DOCG Colli Orientali del Friuli Tenuta di Angoris 2011 (Italy) and Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2009 (Hungary).

Among the curiosities about the wine, very interesting is the fact that in 1775 in Milan an article appeared by the then-young Englishman Sylvester Douglas, Lord Glenverbie, in which he spoke of a wine that “was produced in very small quantities in Friuli, which in dialect they called Vin Piccolit (…) no other liqueur, of those known, comes near the qualities and preciousness of the same, as the wine Piccolito of Friuli”. In 1781 the “news” of the Agrarian Society of Gorizia reported with satisfaction these “English Philosophical Transactions” on the quality and preciousness of the Picolit, produced in fair quantity also in the Collio, the only wine considered similar to the Hungarian Tokaji. They also wrote: “The soil where the Tokai wine is born is of a yellow clayey land, as on the mountain of Medea.”  Just a few hundred yards from Angoris!

A passage of an article was then read to those present which appeared in a number of “Decanter” of 1978 which reads: «By This time we were drinking another Angoris wine, the Colli Orientali del Friuli of the Picolit grape. It had an intriguing taste — faintly sweet but dry in finis uncloying, very pleasing”

The panel of tasters included Marta Locatelli, Alessandro Dal Zovo, winemaker and technical director of the company, Stefano Cosma (regional curator of the guide ViniBuoni d’italia), Paolo Benvenuti (Director of the association “Città dal vino” (City of Wine) and coordinator of the National Centre of Passiti of Montefalco), Gianni Ottogalli (Italian Sommelier Association of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Head of Gambero Rosso Guide for Friuli Venezia Giulia), Pasquale Pace (blogger “Gourmet errante”), Carlo Petrussi (agronomist and wine culture and Oenology scholar of Friuli Venezia Giulia) , Sandro Capitani (journalist Rai Radio1 of the programme “cultivating the Future”), Cristina Burcheri (food and wine journalist and regional curator of the guide ViniBuoni d’italia) and Annibale Toffolo (director responsible for the “Taste Vin” magazine).

After completing the tasting and the ampelographic lesson by Professor Petrussi, everybody was able to try the delicious pairing of Picolit with oysters, then the guests were accompanied to Palazzo Locatelli, seat of the municipality of Cormons where they were welcomed by Mayor Roberto Felcaro and Councillor Martina Borraccia, and were reminded of the historical importance of the Locatelli family and the deep bond they have with this territory.

After an aperitif at the Trattoria Al Giardinetto, the work day ended with lunch at Angoris. In the library of the Villa where some Locatelli labels are preserved that date back to the end of the 19th century, including one of Picolit. A wine that, together with other passiti, we often find in fairs and exhibitions of the time thanks to “its ancient reputation of delicacy”.

The publications speaking about the event: Il Piccolo, Messaggero VenetoQB-Quantobastabereilvino.itCittà del vinoAscoltando il futuro (program of Rai Radio 1) and Il Friuli.