The name “Strassoldo” figures prominently in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and during our stay in this fascinating northeastern region of Italy, we will have the opportunity to gain some insight into this important and ancient family whose presence dates back to 1077. In fact, our home in Gorizia, the Grand Hotel Entourage, a former 16th Century Strassoldo palace, exquisitely balances history with modern-day comfort. Indeed we will be guests of Lella Strassoldo at her family compound located close to the southern Friulian coastline, where we will share an aperitif with her in the estate’s lovely gardens.
Choosing Gorizia as our home base is no coincidence as due to its location at the foot of the Alps, straddling the Slovenian border, at the confluence of the Isonzo and Vipava Valleys, Gorizia is protected from the cold Bora wind, thus it retains a mild Mediterranean climate making the Collio’s weather conditions perfect for vine cultivation.
Friuli will astound you as this amazing journey will take us west to attend “Aria di Festa”, an open-air festival celebrating the highly prized San Daniele prosciutto.
We will be priviledged to share many more wonderful experiences, sharing meals with direct descendants of noble families, one of which will serve a dinner based on a menu taken from the family’s recipe book dating back to 1402, but beautifully integrated in today’s world and perfectly paired with Friulian wines, of course.
Friulian wines will have a prominent role and on this great trip, and we will be honored to meet some of the most respected winemakers in all of Italy, most of whom, due to the perfect climatic conditions in this region, are committed to biodynamic and all-natural wine-making practices. Josko Gravner, famous and respected for adapting the ancient practice of using clay amphorae for the aging of some of his highly prized wines, professes, "I am convinced that wine is a product of Nature, not of Man, whose role therefore is to accompany its maturation process while avoiding any artificial intervention."
Yet another winemaker, Stanislao (Stanko) Radikon’s own personal interpretation of these wines reflects the “Slovenian” style of Friulian winemaking—extended maceration periods, the use of large oak barrels, and manual harvesting method-all resulting with their uncommonly deep yellow color of the white wines, also characterized by their complex and arresting aromas and palate. A luncheon paired with Radikon wines and hosted by Stanko, his wife Suzana and son Saša, will no doubt validate Stanko’s personal winemaking philosophy and style.
A foray into Slovenia will take us to Movia and Ales Kristianic whose family has owned the estate since 1820. Ales and his wife Vesna will be our hosts during a lunch of local Slovenian specialties perfectly paired with Movia wines.
We will visit yet another great producer, Jermann, whose state-of-the-art winery was inaugurated in 2007 and was designed exclusively for the vinification of their Capo Martino, Vignatruss Dreams and Vintage Tunina. A wonderful luncheon served at the estate will provide ample opportunities to appreciate all these Jermann wines.
Not to be missed is a foray to Friuli’s southern Adriatic coastal area and the city of Aquileia, founded as a colony by the Romans in 180/181 BC. Its strategic military position also served to promote the Venetic trade in amber imported from the Baltic and was the starting-point of several important roads leading to the northeastern portion of the empire. Present day Aquileia’s evidence of its former glory are the Roman ruins which clearly delineate its original role as an important Roman outpost as well as the imposing Cathedral of Aquileia rebuilt around 1044 by the then Patriarch Poppo. To this day, the cathedral will marvel all who visit it due to its extensive and beautifully preserved Roman mosaics which pre-dated its reconstruction.
Moving further south reaching the Adriatic coastline, we will board a private “water taxi” and travel along its lagoons and canals, enjoying one of the most serene, beautiful and uncontaminated landscapes. Our destination at the end of the marvelous boat ride is a “Casone”, as the ancient local fishermen’s huts dotting the landscape are known, where we will be served an amazing seafood lunch accompanied by excellent Friulian wines!
Come and join us in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a little known Italian region you will never forget!
*Tour dates subject to change to incorporate the Aria di Festa scheduled activities
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*This tour may be scheduled as an independent departure. It may also be combined with any other tour to other Italian regions. Please contact Shop Wine and Dine for additional details