When I think of the Barcolana regatta I think of my father. I remember that he would have loved to see it, but unfortunately he didn't make it in time. I remember Luna Rossa, the sailboat he used to cheer for. I remember he used to watch the Barcolana on TV and he loved it, and then he would tell me about it on the phone. I would be lying if I told you that I was a fan of sailing boats or regattas in general, but seeing the Barcolana 2022 was however the perfect epilogue to my experience with Rosazza Tower, a Friulian winery that deserves a diversion, indeed a journey.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

Before we get to this delicious brunch of avocado toast, salmon and cheese sandwich, maple syrup and berry pancakes, tea and Torre Rosazza's sparkling yellow ribolla let's take a step back to the day before. First of all, I want to congratulate Alessia Rizzetto PR and her team - especially Camilla - for the perfect organisation. They really thought of everything, which in my experience is not at all a given.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

Barcolana 2022: we start from Torre Rosazza

We arrived at the winery around 5 p.m., a truly perfect time to admire the sun sculpting the vineyards as it sets on the horizon. The manicured terrace on which the manor house stands was converted into a residence by the Antonini family in the mid-1500s. Neoclassical statues stand out against the void, ennobling a manicured park dominated by cedars and hundred-year-old trees.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

From the terrace, a flight of steps leads directly into the vineyard, almost as if to emphasise the vocation for wine of the villa and those who live there. Between the rows, bunches of Picolit grapes gently wither on the vine. And those grapes, attacked by Botrytis cinerea and ugly only in appearance, taste so good that I cannot find words to describe it.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

I admire a small bunch of Picolit in which the phenomenon of floral abortion is evident: the berries are few in number and there are dried twigs between them. This phenomenon, also called millerandage, is caused by the fact that the fertilisation of the flower is partial: only about a tenth of the berries that a standard bunch would have manage to grow and ripen.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The resulting cluster is small, sparse and with berries rich in flavour due to the high concentration of all nutrients in a few berries.

Torre Rosazza: the wine cellar

The first thing I noticed as I entered the cellar was the perfect organisation of space. You start from the outside and arrive inside, in rooms where large and small stainless steel casks, concrete tanks and small wooden barrels coexist.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The wine cellar is located underneath the manor house and is partly dug into the hillside, thus allowing perfect air conditioning at a lower energy cost. Work began in the 1950s and continues to this day: extensions, new acquisitions and technical expertise are some of the fundamental values of this company, which has evidently initiated a major shift towards quality.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

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In addition to the large stainless steel barrels, there are also smaller stainless steel barrels, which are used to vinify separately both the different grape varieties also contributing to the blends, and the best particles.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

As I have already written, I very much appreciate concrete tanks. Cement is an extraordinary material because it performs the function of steel, but with a much greater insulating power. This is especially valuable in a land of white wines, which are particularly sensitive to temperature increases.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The area of the wine cellar reserved for wooden barrels is very sacrificed in relation to the number of barrels present, but the barrels are of excellent workmanship. Given the beauty of the villa, I would give it a more romantic look with a targeted architectural renovation, starting with the lighting. 

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

Leaving the cellar, the already beautiful garden was transformed into something even more wonderful thanks to many, many candles placed in strategic spots to enhance it. The atmosphere became so warm, cosy and perfect for a romantic evening or a special occasion.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

In this magical atmosphere, we enjoyed a welcome aperitif by chef Mirko Ronzoni, who also curated the evening's menu. Mirko Ronzoni, born in 1990, won Hell's Kitchen in 2015a programme hosted by Carlo Cracco which I have never seen because television and I are rather incompatible (although unfortunately I have to pay the RAI licence fee...). Mirko is a nice and sunny guy from Bergamo with an immense passion for cooking.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The mini tartlets with cream cheese (it looked like a ricotta mousse to me) and speck and the spicy grilled meatballs I found enjoyable, although I didn't feel like an encore. The sardines in sarò with rice vinegar, on the other hand, were simply divine and I think I ate at least half a tray. Very well balanced, they also went very very well with the wine we were served.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The first wine tasted was the Blanc di Neri, a very original sparkling wine made from Schioppettino grapes that I enjoyed very much. I found a lot of potential in it and I believe that by prolonging both the ageing on the lees and the time spent in the bottle after disgorgement before release, it can truly be defined as a great classic method, capable of holding its own against its more noble colleagues. The current vintage is 2018 with disgorgement in June 2021.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

If you have been reading me for a while, you know that I love to taste wines with a few years on their shoulders, especially sparkling and white wines, which are the ones that suffer most from the habit of giving them away as soon as possible. So I took the liberty of insisting a little with the winemaker to let me taste an old vintage and I must say that this 2012 vintage disgorging 2015 was really something! Broad on the nose with notes of honey, spice and eggnog. A snappy bubble, nice softness, but still lots of freshness... just a pity it's a wine that no longer exists.

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Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

Barcolana 2022: dinner the night before at Torre Rosazza

As an appetiser, we were served a carpaccio of porcini mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano fondue and crispy maize wafer, which was really good and made from a high quality raw material. The Parmigiano Reggiano was well dosed because it did not cover, but rather enhanced the delicate mushroom.

Paired with it was the Friulano Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2021 by Torre Rosazza which in itself I liked, but it just didn't go well with this dish. So I preferred to combine it with risotto and it was wonderful.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

This is because Friulano has a very intense olfactory bouquet as well as a lot of verticality and acidity, characteristics that are perfect for degreasing the fragrant Carnaroli Antico risotto with chestnut cream, San Daniele del Friuli puff pastry and red onion compote. For me, it was the most successful dish of the entire dinner: the sweetness of the rice, chestnuts and onion compote perfectly balanced the savouriness of the San Daniele prosciutto which, with its aromaticity, perfectly held its own against the Friulano. The wine provided was the Ronco delle Magnolie, a Friuli Colli Orientali DOC white 2020 which, with its delicate aromas and distinct softness, was covered by the risotto (but would have been perfect with the porcini carpaccio!).

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

As a second course, we were served a sirloin of Italian Angus caramelised in chestnut honey with roasted pumpkin and creme fraiche. There were delicious pumpkin and aniseed spumini and the meat was also cooked very very well. The roasted pumpkin was a little undercooked, but still pleasant. The perfect food and wine pairing: the Ronco della Torre Rosso Riserva Friuli Orientali DOC 2019 Torre Rosazza I found it to be an excellent Friulian red wine that, with its softness, counteracted the succulence of the meat and with its spiciness held its own against the aniseed. Good!

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

Finally, we were served an almost perfect dessert: marron glacé bavarois, almond rocher, salted shortcrust and fondant ganache 70% Colombia. Obviously the marron glacé with all this chocolate went down a treat, but taken on its own without the ganache I found it delicious. Rather than the chocolate ganache I would have put a passion fruit gelée, which with its acidity would have balanced the sweet tendency of the chestnut and white chocolate without covering the marron glacé.

In combination with the Picolit Friuli Colli Orientali DOCG 2017, the only wine from the estate that I did not, unfortunately, find up to the standard of the others.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

The next morning we left early for Trieste. La Barcolana 2022 awaited us in an elegant suite with a taste as classic as it is contemporary in the beautiful hotel Savoia Excelsior Palace. From a large room on the fourth floor with two panoramic balconies overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, we enjoyed the regatta while having a perfect Sunday brunch.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza Tower Wines

What I did miss a little was sitting down and calmly tasting all the wines produced by the winery, perhaps even a nice vertical tasting of pinot blanc. However, the very talented winemaker Enrico 'made up for this' by uncorking a bottle that really moved me.

Barcolana 2022 Rosazza tower pinot bianco

The Pinot Bianco Ronco delle Magnolie Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2000 by Torre Rosazza is indescribable. I would call it the experience within the experience. Its bright, intense golden yellow, its texture, its nose dancing between notes of caramelised hazelnuts, pastries, fresh apricots and the sip that is still fresh yet softened by softness... how wonderful! I could go on for hours describing it to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for opening it for me!

The overall experience was wonderful, so I can't help but recommend that you visit this estate and immerse yourself in a story that I am sure will give us more and more satisfaction in the future.

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

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