Wine glass on the table

Beyond the Tagliamento river

by Matteo

20/MAR/2017 in Press


A look at the most forgotten vineyards of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia. A journey to discover the true wealth wine to be saved. Let's venture between the shores of this wonderful land!

Sometimes it happens that, looking through memories, one of them suddenly comes out, unconsciously linked to another one. Some days ago during my trip to Venice, I was crossing the Tagliamento river and the pebbles along the banks made me think about a far but vivid memory: "Ucelut".

It is very difficult to find people in Friuli who have not tasted or heard about the Verduzzo or the Picolit, typical Friulian varieties cultivated on the hills, considered indigenous grapes. Of course everyone knows that these white wines are sweet and refined. But how many people know what Ucelut is? I will be honest with you: I have discovered it a few years ago.

When speaking of wines from the "grave", the land in the lower Friuli, people generally turn up their noses because of their negative prejudice referring to the concept of quantity rather than quality, traditionally reserved to the hill cultivation. The Tagliamento is not the Garonne, we shouldn’t forget that in that area "les graves" (these words indicate the stony ground and please note that the words used are almost the same in Italian and in French) are the cradle of the most famous and renowned wines in the world. So this stony area, the Italian one, the Tagliamento one, hasn't been so lucky if we talk about wine. But some of its wines that had been forgotten for decades were rediscovered by the irresistible curiosity of Emilio Bulfon. Among these varieties, there is the Ucelut, a white grape that gives an excellent sweet wine.

Some months ago my friends and I went exploring this part of Friuli to search these lost varieties. We went to Emilio’s winery; his daughter accompanied us in the countryside, among rows of Picolit and Ucelut, cultivated with love and passion. When we went back, a “fogolar” (that means “fireplace” in the local language) was waiting for us. On the table of the tasting room, some cold cuts, cheeses and desserts accompanied the Ucelut and the other grape varieties rediscovered by Emilio: Sciaglin, Forgiarin and Cividin.

Ucelut was the best. It had a deep golden colour; it was consistent, well-structured and intense; at the nose the wisteria delicacy and a pleasant hint of apricot, so elegant and refined; the taste was sweet, fresh but very soft without being cloying; long and pleasant finish. A harmonious and elegant wine, although structured. We tried it with dry cakes...but we would have liked to try it also with a mature cheese. Well...we will sure repeat the experiment, now we know that the treasure we have found is so close, along the Tagliamento river.