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Daily Archives: Jul 24, 2013

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Visiting Ronco delle Bettulle

wines_betulle_refosco

In April 2012 six of us–Jeremy Parzen, Whitney Adams, Talia Baiocchi, Stuart George, JC Reid and myself–traveled together to Friuli, Italy to tour Colli Orientali del Friuli. We saw a large majority of the producers of the appellation, and visited beautiful vineyards as well. Before the trip we were invited to request wineries we wanted to be sure and have more time with. Stuart George suggested Ronco delle Bettulle. It’s a wine imported to the UK, that barely arrives into the United States currently.

We met the owner winemaker, Simone Secchi, in the midst of an especially beautiful day through the region. He and his mother Ivana Adami together own and operate their vineyards and winery.

Our visit to Bettulle focused primarily on grapes local to the region, with a few International varieties, including the lesser known Franconia (known as Blaufrankisch in Austria).

Simone expressed enjoyment in exploring the preferences of particular grapes. Their Ribolla Gialla sees a small portion of the overall pick left on skins for a month, then blended back with the straight to press juice. The Refosco he leaves on the vine till it is almost falling from its stems. The Franconia he gives a gentler touch to avoid any phenolic bitterness. The red blend, their richest wine with the most heft, he gives oak, explaining, “it is a wine that is proud of itself. It has big structure for aging.”

I managed to return to the states with two bottles of their Franconia. Simone explained he is “fond of this wine because it is the oldest vine we have on the property.” About a month after the trip I shared one of the bottles with my close friends Fred and Hillary. This morning I woke up thinking of the other one.

Though I enjoyed the visit at the time, in the midst of so much travel I never wrote about Bettulle. Here are a few photos from the stop along with notes from Simone. All quotations below are from Simone Secchi, April 2012.

The Betulle winery

the Betulle winery

“We have birch here on a hill. When we started there were butterflies everywhere on top the vineyard. Thus, the logo.”

Simone Secchi

Simone Secchi

There is an old monastery on the hill that hosts Betulle. “Where the monks go you can always be sure it is the best area for agriculture. They always know where to go. We are in Rosazzo. Rosazzo is cru. This is a unique microclimate. It is a bit warmer [than other parts of the region]. There is rarely hail but it one of the rainiest parts of Europe.”

the Betulle Vineyards

vineyard at Ronco delle Bettulle

“Yeast for us is not where the wine is made. We are focused in the vineyards not the cellar. We have very little technology, only temperature controlled fermentation. I love to work with little elements of the wine that make it special. For me, drinkability is very important.”

Simone Secchi explaining their farming

Bettulle is a 15 hectare (37 acres) estate, with 11.5 hectares (27 acres) planted. “We want to stay in a human dimension. We do not want to get to where we have managers. We want to be able to control everything.”

getting ready to taste

Whit and Talia getting ready to taste with Simone

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In the US: Riahi Selections.

Jamie Goode’s thoughts on Bettulle wines (he likes them): http://www.wineanorak.com/roncodellebetulle.htm

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Thank you to Jeremy Parzen and Stuart George.

Thank you to Simone Secchi, and Ivana Adami.

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