Collio: relax and enjoy!

A unique three-day experience surrounded by vineyards

A, B, C for Collio! Well yes, I was hosted by the Collio Consortium to take part in the “Awakening of the Senses” experience, a couple of days surrounded by rows of vines, exploring and learning about the area’s white wines (but we also had with a few glasses of red).

Before I get deep into the story, I should point out that this package was made for those in the communications field, but the Collio Consortium is always willing to help anyone interested in similar experiences, offering active support complete with the wineries’ phone numbers and opening times, itineraries and so on. Organizing a wine (but also gastronomic) tour will be super easy.

And now, let’s start with some sparkles! Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Malvasia are the native grape varieties you will find in the wineries most often: these are joined by the more international Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Sauvignon. There’s also a very ambitious project of the Consorzio di Tutela (a protection consortium), called Collio Bianco: it’s the result of the blending of different grapes and it holds all the characteristics of its land and its producers. Crazy.

Oh God, yes I know. I started talking about wine because I wanted to make a bombshell entrance… however, it seems appropriate to tell you a little more about these places, because probably not everyone knows what Collio is; it was the first area of Friuli Venezia Giulia to receive the DOC, aka the Controlled Designation of Origin. You have, indeed, to be careful not to end up in the Colli Orientali (Western Hills) or the Isonzo area (which have other DOCs). Let’s not mix things up. The Collio Doc lies among the Isonzo River, the Judrio stream and the crown of the Julian Alps.

Basically, we’re talking about the hilly area and NOT THE VALLEY! Are we clear?

The quality of the wines produced in this area depends on several factors that allow for fine viticulture: a perfect and unique microclimate in terms of ventilation and temperature range, the slopes that help with sun exposure, and the “ponca,” the characteristic Collio soil made of marl of Eocene origin.

During the tastings, my traveling buddies and I were stimulated to awaken the five senses to fully grasp the different philosophies expressed by each winemaker. The same grape variety can show an infinite quantity of different vibrations in the glass, due to late harvest, aging in barrels, stainless steel or egg-shaped ones, amphorae, and more, or less, advanced macerations…in short, an infinite number of variations that may occur in the transformation process that will bring very different results despite starting from the same grape.

 

I may not be the best person to be talking about enology, but I simply wanted to give you a little heads-up before setting you free in the wild! Because in the one thousand three hundred hectares of Collio you don’t “only” find 300 producers – among winemakers and bottlers – but you can also discover excellence in gastronomy, perfectly paired with the wines. And this can mean only one thing.

To fully live the experience, you have to get yourself to be surrounded by these rolling hills that are home to ancient vineyards, small villages, natural forest reserves and much more.

Therefore, my advice is to take a nice tour that lets you snoop not only around the wineries, but also in the surrounding area, which is one with what you will be tasting in your glass. You can do this on a rented Vespa, on a bike or, why not, on horseback. If you want to take it easy, don’t worry, you will find a multitude of bed and breakfasts where you can stay overnight: you also have to consider that many wineries have inaugurated, over the years, areas meant for hospitality, which are suggestive and genuine at the same time.

I say this is not an experience to miss. A as in authentic. B as in beauty. C as in Collio.

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