The inimitable Ornella Venica greeted me in the late morning with a glass of Pinot Bianco by her family’s historic winery, Venica & Venica. “Maybe not the most popular or important,” she explained, “but my personal favorite.”
For the next 5 days and nights, I’m going to be staying at the Venica & Venica estate in Dolegna del Collio (Gorizia, Friuli) with leading U.S. food and wine professionals Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (owners of Frasca in Boulder, CO), who asked me to join them and a group of wine buyers on a tour of Friuli (sponsored by the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia).
The main course at lunch was a delicious pork shank prepared by Ornella herself (note the kren in the foreground).
I’d never tasted the Venica Refosco. The 2008 (recently bottled) was killer… chewy and juicy.
I cannot conceal that I am very psyched to hang with Bobby (who helped Ornella clear the dishes after lunch) and Lachlan, two of the nicest dudes in the biz and undisputed Friulian insiders!
Why do your business trips sound so much like my dream vacations?
Bobby is a super nice guy and we are fortunate to have Frasca as our neighborhood restaurant. Has he told you about their current expansion activities? I am hoping that they turn Pearl Street into something like India Street in SD.
And if you haven’t been to Frasca, you really ought to find a reason to get out here. Let me know if you do–I would love to show you around town…
Give the Venicas our compliments from Jaynes. I’m ordering a sample of the Pinot Bianco today!
Man you make me hungry…
Remind me , netx time we are together to tell you about my “early days” in the wine biz, selling Venica, when Armando de Rham was still alive. It was a trip selling Tocai in the early 1980’s here in flyover country.
You are definitely with the “undisputed Friulian insiders;” what a delicious time you’ll have there. Send my regards to Bobby and Lachlan.
You are a lucky man!
hey vinogirl, i agree ;)
You are a lucky guy.
I never tasted Venica, how do they compare with Gravner & Damijan, I love these wines.
Buon giorno Giorgos,
I am the 4th generation at Venica so let me answer briefly to your question.
The work in the vineyard is similar but our wines are very different to our friend Josko’s: we do maceration but only for a short period of time 12-24 hours at low temperature.
We focus more on aromas from the skins and less on the tannins so in the glass our wines tend to be aromatic and have more minerality.
If you have the chance to try let me know what your impression is.
Great company. I was at Frasca several months ago while visiting Denver area – amazing restaurant. Bobby was great – I told him I was a wine blogger from the Bay Area, and he asked if I knew Alder Yarrow – haha :)!. So cool for you dudes to be hanging together in Friuli. I am so jealous :)!
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