“Wine is the flower in the buttonhole of agriculture and it carries the expression of the terroir and the community.” So states Carlo Petrini.
Fast does not always mean best. That’s the message of the Slow Food and Slow Wine movement which celebrates taking the time to make food and wine the old fashioned way.
For April, which is Earth Month, I’m hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel group of wine writers as we learn more about Slow Wines — wines from the Slow Wine Guide Italy– paired with Slow Food, food prepared with care. Read the invitation here to learn more about Slow Wine and Slow Food.
Participants are sharing wines that are either in the Slow Wine Guide or should be. To facilitate our exploration on the topic, Slow Wine Italy shared with us copies of the Slow Wine Guide pdf for 2021 and 2022. Scroll down for more about what the group will be writing about.
To be included in the annual Slow Wine Guide, wine quality, adherence to terroir, value for money, and environmental sensitivity are all considered. Wineries that use herbicides, pesticides, and petroleum based fertilizers for example are excluded.
Specific factors include growing a minimum of 70% of their grapes, refusing to use chemically synthesized fertilizers, herbicides or anti-botrytis fungicides, approaching winemaking sustainably, using “natural” winemaking techniques, avoiding enhancements like oak chips, using low levels of sulfites as allowed by the organic standard of the EU, reflecting their place of origin, encouraging biodiversity, and creating a supportive community.
Offering a comprehensive guide of Italian wines, The Slow Wine Guide for Italy reviews more than 2,500 wines and 300 cellars. Find the latest edition here.
For the preview post for Italian Food Wine Travel, and because today is the final day of Women’s History Month, Sue and I decided to focus on the three 2022 Slow Wine Guide wines of Hilde Petrussa’s Vigna Petrussa, located in Friuli, northeastern Italy next to the border with Slovenia paired with regionally inspired cuisine. This is what we said in March 2020 about six of the Vigna Petrussa wines– whites, reds, and dessert!.
Researching Friuli food, on Cellar Tours I learned about Pestat di Fagagna, a type of salami shaped like a meatball and smoked with pine needles that is acknowledged by the Slow Food Presidium. Pestat di Fagagna uses herbs and vegetables to flavor pork lard, like a bouillon cube. Lard with chopped carrots, onion, celery, sage, garlic, rosemary, and parsley is seasoned with salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon before being stuffed into a natural casing and left to age.
Way too slow.
But just because it’s Slow Food doesn’t mean it has to take forever– or be impossible on a week night.
To go with the two red wines, we did a beef ragu over polenta, since polenta is the most common grain of the region. We made it in the instant pot and then let the flavors integrate over a few days. We then simply reheated it and shredded the tender beef chunks. We also made the polenta in advance in the instant pot and heated that up. For the white blend, I picked nasturtium leaves from my garden which Sue roughly chopped then blended with olive oil, piñon nuts, and parmesan cheese served on egg noodles from Marche. Once a pesto is made, it can keep for a long time as long as you keep the exposed “green” covered in oil. So while making pesto make be “SLOW,” once it is made it can make for a “fast” meal!
According to renowned Italian wine expert Ian D’Agata, Vigna Petrussa is “one of Italy’s best and most under the radar estates.” Praising the producer’s winemaker-vigneron Hilde Petrussa for a “great passion for her craft” he gave all of her wines 90+ point ratings in a January 2020 article in Vinous. Hilde took over for her mother as head woman winemaker-vigneron in 1995, and has focused on indigenous grapes and high quality wines, recognized by many awards including being included in the Slow Wine Guide which says “The search for detail is combined with the vision of the territory and returns wines of marked elegance and in perfect balance.” Today Hilde is joined at the helm by her daughter Francesca.
Located in the Judrio valley, a region characterized by the Bora wind with soils of marl, clay and alluvial formations near the banks of the stream. Verovino’s Sheila Donohue says that Vigna Petrussa wines are certified sustainable through the EU certification body, adheres to the World Biodiversity Association’s BIO Diversity standards, and uses only copper and sulfur if necessary.
Learn more about Vigna Petrussa from importer VeroVino.
- 2018 Vigna Petrussa “Richenza,” Venezia Giulia
- 2017 Vigna Petrussa, Refosco, Venezia Giulia
- 2018 Vigna Petrussa, Schioppettino Di Prepotto, Friuli Colli Orientali
Read here about the Vigna Petrussa:
- 2018 Ribolla Giulia SRP $26
- 2017 Friulano Friuli Coli Orientali SRP $26
- 2015 Friuli Colli Orientali Schioppettino di Prepotto Riserva SRP $45
- 2018 Venezia Giulia “Desiderio” SRP $35 (split)
2018 Vigna Petrussa “Richenza,” Venezia Giulia
Grapes: blend of 30% friulano, 5% picolit, 35% riesling renano, 30% Malvasia
Imported by VeroVino
Sample for my review
The name “Richenza” refers to a Lombard princess.
Color: Very pretty golden, clear, light bounces nicely off the wine.
Aroma: Lots of minerals, sulphur hot springs, meadow grasses and flowers, citrus blossom, lemon,
Palate: Lemon, bee pollen, herbaceous, sage, comfrey, chamomile, fresh and clean, fennel bulb, there is a nice richnesss, nutty richness on the finish, roasted nuts,
Pairing: We so much loved our chevo with orange and fennel pollen. It was perfect with the wine when spread on a warm chabatta . the arum salami with cardamom, orange peel and red chili flakes was a fantastic pairing. The wine also loved the Finocchiona salami loving the fennel, touch of curry and black pepper. The richness of the egg noodles combined with the nasturtium pesto was so wonderful together with the wine. The only thing that would make it better would be a drizzle of orange oil or chili oil over the top of the dish to add even more complexity. The wine responds so nicely with heat.
2017 Vigna Petrussa, Refosco, Venezia Giulia
Sample for my review
Hilde dries out the grapes before fermentation.
Color: Interesting complex color, ruby, cranberry, pomegranate,
Aroma: Peppery, chili pepper, schezuan red pepper, cherry, plum, bell pepper, caramel, very contemplative.
Palate: Black pepper, cherry, pomegranate, bold acidity, cherry cola on the finish, big tannins, great structure,
Pairing: Very yummy with the ragu over polenta. The wine is fruity and brings out nice fruit in the ragu. Both the wine and the ragu are so sweet together. It is a right on pairing on top of the creamy polenta. While this Wien would be well with many Italian meals, It was perfect with this meal. It was fantastic with the stewed meat the rosemary herbs and vegetables. When put on top of the polenta, there is an added layer of complexity and perfection. The tart fruit in the wine combined with the richness of the meat and the richness of the creamy polenta and the herbs are a perfect marriage.
2018 Vigna Petrussa, Schioppettino Di Prepotto, Friuli Colli Orientali
Sample for my review
This is a rare and special grape that almost went extinct.
Color: Very pale translucent, raspberry, rhubarb, coral rim
Aroma: Forest floor, violet, raspberry, strawberry, wild mint, rich moist loamy soil,
Palate: Raspberry, cassis, chalky tannins, coco nibs on the finish, black tea, black current tea,
Pairing: This wine is very fruit forward and loves the rosemary, herbs, and the richness of both the polenta and the ragu. Great wine, great meal. The rich bold meats stewed or grilled, but for me braised is best. It loves herbs and spicy spices: peppers and red chili. Think of a sausage diablo over fresh pasta. What I was struck by was the herbs in the meat when it meets the wine brings out a sweet fruitiness of the wine as well as bringing out the rich characteristics in the meal.
Find more Slow Wine and Slow Food pairings from:
- Jennifer shares “Slow Wine and Food of Madrevite” on Vino Travels .
- Deanna delights with “Montenidoli Il Templare White Wine + Wood Fired Pizza” on Wineivore
- Camilla offers “Buono, Pulito, e Giusto: Lemon-Stuffed Chicken, Preserved Lemons, and an Umbrian Chardonnay” at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
- Nicole has “Old World/ New World Malvasia” on Somm’s Table.
- Wendy does “Spezzatino d’agnello and a G.D. Vajra Albe” for A Day in the Life on the Farm/
- Terri pairs “Grassfed Meatballs and Caiarossa Toscana” on Our Good Life.
- On Wine Predator, we argue that “Organic Famiglia Febo Deserves to be in Slow Wine Guide Italy”
You’re invited to join our twitter chat Saturday April 2 at 8am Pacific by searching for the hashtag #ItalianFWT.
Here’s the discussion questions:
- 8a Q1 Good morning! Happy #EarthMonth! Welcome to the April Italian #Food #Wine #Travel chat on Italy’s #SlowWine, #SlowFood movements. Say hi, introduce yourself, share a selfie, and a link to your blog if relevant. Remember to use the #ItalianFWT hashtag.
- 8:05 Q2 Today’s #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth chat celebrates Italy’s #SlowWine and #SlowFood movements. The Slow Wine Guide reviews 2500 wines from 300 cellars. Was it challenging to find a wine to write about that is or should be in the book? Details here: https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8Sf
- 8:10a Q3 Which Slow Wine from Italy did you choose to write about? Why did you choose it? Is it in the book or should it be? Here’s a link with more details about @vignapetrussa and Slow Wine Guide. https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8WQ #ItalianFWT
- 8:15 Q4 In five words, can you describe your #ItalianFWT tasting experience this month with wine? Please share the link to your Slow Food, Slow Wine article with us!
- 8:20 Q5 Tell us more about the winery or the wine! Are they certified #organic or #biodynamic? What makes them SLOW?Please share photographs if you have them! #ItalianFWT
- 8:25 Q6 Did you prepare a #SlowFood to enjoy with your #SlowWine? Share with us the pairing, pictures, recipe link if you have one. Did you try or learn about any regional recipes? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:30 Q7 Did you find the pairing successful? Why or why not? What did you learn? What would you pair with a second time around? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:35 Q8 What else did you learn about #SlowWine or #SlowFood, the winery, the wine, or the region? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:40 Q9 Have you visited the region or the winery? If so, please share fun facts and photos about the trip! If you haven’t gone yet, why is it on your bucket list or do you wish to return?Highlights for you? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:45 Q10 Certified #organic and #biodynamic wines score higher making them better for ME and WE! Do you seek #SlowWines? Have you observed any differences? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:50 Q11 Any last comments or questions? #ItalianFWT #EarthMonth
- 8:55 Q12 Shoutout to those who participated today: @WendyKlik @tsteffes @sommstable @Vignetocomm @culinary_cam @asiantestkitchn. Thanks for participating with host @ArtPredator! #ItalianFWT #SlowWineGuide #EarthMonth
- 9a Thank you for joining us for our #ItalianFWT #EarthMonthchat today! Find links to our published articles here: https://wp.me/pj3XZ-8XN