Archive for the ‘merlot’ Category

34 red wine varietals

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Here is a list of vine varieties with a description of the red wines made from them.

Variety Origin Description
Aglianico Greek Tannic, tarry wines of great breed and lasting power from southern Italy.
Alicante French Hybrid.
Undistinguished grape with highly coloured juice, teinturier.
French Hybrid.
Full-bodied, deep colour, smoky blackberry flavour.
Barbera Italian Medium colour, high acid, dry quaffing wine.
Cabernet Franc French (Bouchet)
Usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Medium-weight, herbaceous
wines suggestive of violets and raspberries.
French Deep ruby colour, black currant and cedar nose, full-bodied, tannic when young.
Capable of long ageing. Softened with Merlot, Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux
and in California and Australia.
Carignan Spain Widely planted, high yielding. Astringent table wine with good colour, used for blending.
Cinsault French Hot weather grape, deep colour and meaty flavour, low tannins. Good for blending.
French Hybrid.
Acid, tough red, slightly smoky in flavour.
Dolcetto Italian Deep-coloured, soft, fruity wine, not for ageing.
Freisa Italian Garnet colour, light, dry wine tasting of raspberries.
Gamay French Grape of Beaujolais. Fresh, fruity, light-bodied wines tasting of cherry and plums with peppery finish. Fast maturing.
California Hybrid; a crossing between Valdiguié and Pinot Noir. Not very distinguished. Fruity flavour, high acid.
Grenache   (Garnacha/Cannonau)
Fruity, high alcohol, low tannins, soft. Good for rosé. Fast maturing.
Grignolino Italian Light
colour, fragrant strawberry aroma, very dry.
Kadarka Hungary (Gamza)
Powerful, deep, full-bodied wines.
Lambrusco Italy Light, grapey, fruity, off-dry wines.
Malbec French (Côt)
Early maturing, low acid, blackberry flavour. A lesser blending grape in Bordeaux.
Maréchal Foch French Hybrid.
Deep-coloured, peppery, plummy, acidic wine.
Merlot French Purple, full-bodied wines, blackberry flavour. Less tannic and earlier maturing than Cabernet Sauvignon. Ages very well.
Mourvèdre Spanish (Mataro)
Deep-coloured, powerful wines with a spicy blackberry taste.
Nebbiolo Italian (Spanna/Chiavennasca)
The noble grape of Piedmont producing long-lasting wines that take time to soften. Brick red, truffles and violets on the nose with an austere dry finish.
Petite Sirah French Californian name for the French Duriff. Full-bodied, deep-coloured wines with peppery flavour.
French (Pinot Nero, Spätburgunder) One of the grapes of Champagne and the grape of red Burgundy. Difficult to cultivate. Garnet colour, barnyard bouquet,
raspberry flavour, medium weight. Ages very well.
French Secondary grape of Champagne. Fruity, acidic, low alcohol.
Pinotage S.Africa (Hermitage)
Pinot Noir Cinsault crossing. Robust, powerful red, inky nose. Fast maturing, ageing potential.
Primitivo Italy Massive black wines of high alcohol and intense fruit. Thought to be progenitor of the Californian Zinfandel.
Ruby Cabernet California A Carignan-Cabernet Sauvignon crossing. Deep-coloured, fruity wines but lacking the finesse and breeding of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sangiovese Italian A Chianti grape usually blended with Canaiolo. Earthy, truffle-scented wines with fine acidity and ample tannins. Capable of long ageing.
Syrah Middle East (Shiraz)
Powerful black, aromatic wines tasting of blackberries and white pepper. Capable of long ageing.
Tempranillo Spanish (Ull de Llebre) Pinot Noir-like character. Pale ruby colour, coconut and sandalwood bouquet. Dry strawberry flavour. Ages elegantly.
Touriga Naçional Portugal The best port grape. Intense dark wine with high tannin and a lovely berry nose. Other port grapes include Mourisco, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarella,
Tinta Cao and Touriga Francesa.
Xynomavro Greek Black wines of high acidity and tannin that age well.
Zinfandel California Versatile grape that can produce powerhouse to medium-weight reds, rosés and blush wines. Characterized by a blackberry flavour and intense fruit. Also
late harvest with port-like sweetness.

On this website here is a list of white wine varietals.

California wine country

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Alexander Valley - Sonoma

The Wine Country is a region of Northern California in the United States known worldwide as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century. There are over 400 wineries in the area north of San Francisco, mostly located in the area’s valleys, including Napa Valley in Napa County, and the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, Livermore Valley and Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. Wine grapes are also grown at higher elevations, such as Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder AVAs. The region is defined not only in terms of viticulture, but also its ecology, geology, architecture, cuisine, and culture. The majority of the grape harvest, in terms of both area and value, derives from Sonoma County.

Communities associated with the Wine Country include Kenwood, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Geyserville, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Guerneville, historic Fort Ross and Ukiah.


Sonoma Mountain AVA with background of the Mayacamas Mountains

Wine Country proper is generally regarded as the combined counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. However, some reference works include part of Lake in the term Wine Country. These counties contain the following American Viticultural Areas (AVAs):

  • in Mendocino County: Anderson Valley, Covelo, Mendocino, and Potter Valley.
  • in Napa County: Atlas Peak, Los Carneros, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, Stags Leap District, and Yountville.
  • in Sonoma County: Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Knight’s Valley, Los Carneros, Northern Sonoma, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley.
  • in Lake County: Clear Lake, Guenoc Valley, High Valley, and Red Hills Lake County.

The six-county North Coast AVA overlaps with the Wine Country as defined here. In addition, the names of the counties themselves are legal for use as appellation names.


Yountville historic rail station, Napa Valley

The earliest prehistory of the Wine Country involves habitation by several Native American tribes since approximately 8000 BC. The principal tribes living in this region were the Pomo, Coast Miwok, Wappo and Patwin, whose early peoples practiced certain forms of agriculture, but probably not involving the cultivation of grapes. During the Mexican Colonial period and after, European settlers brought in more intensive agriculture to the Wine Country, including growing grapes and wine production. Some of the historical events that led to the establishment of California as a state transpired in the Wine Country. In particular, the town of Sonoma, is known as the birthplace of American California. Agoston Haraszthy is credited with being one of the forefathers of the California wine industry in Sonoma by his planting of grapes in the lower Arroyo Seco Creek watershed of Sonoma County.

As home to both Buena Vista winery, California’s oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California’s oldest family-run winery, the Sonoma Valley is known as the birthplace of the California wine industry.


Pygmy forest along a popular Wine Country hiking trail of Hood Mountain. Note darker vegetation in upper right is a mixed oak woodland

A diversity of aquatic and terrestrial organisms populate the Wine Country and its riparian zones. Winter-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tsawytscha), Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) and steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) are the most prominent fishes. Anadromous fish movements in Sonoma Creek and the Napa River as well as the Laguna de Santa Rosa have been studied extensively not only in the mainstems, but in many of the tributaries. These investigations have demonstrated a historical decline in spawning and habitat value for these species, primarily due to sedimentation and secondarily to removal of riparian vegetation since the 19th century.

A variety of salamanders, snakes and frogs are also present in the Wine Country. The federally listed as threatened California red-legged frog is present in the northern reach draining the south slopes of Annadel State Park. Several endangered species (mostly associated with the Napa Sonoma Marsh) present include California clapper rail (Rallus longirostris), California Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis), California brown pelican (Pelicanus occudentalis), California freshwater shrimp (Syncaris pacifica), Salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris ), Suisun Shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus), Sacramento splittail (Pogonichtys macrolepidotus). The above are endangered species with the exception of the splittail, steelhead and black rail, which species are federally designated as Threatened.

Upland ecosystems drained include mixed California oak woodland, chaparral and savannah woodland. In these upland reaches one finds plentiful Black-tailed Deer, coyote, skunk, raccoon, opossum, wild turkey, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk and occasionally bobcat and mountain lion. Prominent higher elevation trees include: Coast live oak, Garry Oak, Pacific madrone, California Buckeye, Douglas fir, whereas Valley oak is prevalent on the Wine Country valley floors.


The Wine Country has undergone a boom in tourism. In 1975 there were only 25 Napa Valley wineries; today there are well over 400 wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Tourists come to the region not only for wine-tasting, but also for hiking, bicycling, hot air ballooning, and historic sites, as well as the extensive culinary choices. Numerous notable chefs and restaurateurs are present in the Wine Country, including Thomas Keller, John Ash, and Sondra Bernstein. Besides the obvious winery attractions, the Wine Country is known for its hot springs baths, petrified forests and other natural areas.

The Wine Country tourism boom has its downside, exemplified by traffic congestion on State Route 29, particularly on summer weekends, when the number of tourists often exceeds the carrying capacity of the road. The Napa Valley is also experiencing pressures for increased urbanization and roadway upgrading.

This post has a copyright by Wikipedia contributors. It is licensed under the GFDL.

Directory of Colorado wineries

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Herebelow are directions, information and tasting room schedules for wineries in Colorado. If you know of other wineries in Colorado, please present them in the comments.

Colorado vineyard

Aspen Valley Winery


2370 ROAD 112, cARBONDALE, CO 81623 – (970) 963-9659


Wines: Reds, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Fruit Wines, Blends

461 24 Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-5554

(East Orchard Mesa: Hwy 6 east from Palisade, turn south on 38 Road, follow yellow centerline 5.5 miles)

Tasting Room Hours: 11-6 daily

Corley Vineyards


Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Rielsing, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot…

5482 Highway 348, Box 940, Olathe, CO 81425 – (970) 323-6224

(Hwy 50 to Olathe, west 3.4 miles on Hwy 348)

Tasting Room Hours: May-Sept: 11-6 Wed-Sat, Oct-April: 11-5 Fri-Sat or by appt.; Closed Jan-Mar. except by appt.

Tasting Room (Pagosa Springs) – 970-264-5105

Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay

3907 North river Rd., Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-0888

(Old Hwy 6, north side of river, 1 mi. east of Palisade)

Tasting Room Hours: May 1-Oct. 15, 10-4 daily except Sun; Winter by appt.

COLORADO CELLARS WINERYWines: 20 wines, sparkling, port and mead.

3553 E Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (800) 848-2812

(I-70 Exit 37, Hwy 141 south to C1/2 Rd, east 5.6 miles)

Tasting Room Hours: 9-4, Mon-Fri; Noon-4 Sat

Also produces the Colorado Mountain Vineyards, Rocky Mountain Vineyards & Orchard Mesa Wine Company brands.


Wines: Honey Wine (Mead), Fruit-blended Honey Wines

3701 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7899

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile)

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, daily



Wines: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, cabernet Franc, Chardonnay

107 Williams Street, Minturn, CO 81645 – (970) 827-4065

(I-70 exit 171, between Vail and Beaver Kreek, Hwy 24 south 2 miles.

Next to Chilli-Willy’s and the Minturn Country Club)

Tasting room Hours: June-Aug Noon-6 daily – light lunches served;

Sept-Oct Noon-6 Thurs-Sat; Dec-April Noon-6 Wed-Sat;

Closed Nov & May


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Fruit Wines, Blends

15750 County Road 220 Salida, CO 81201 – (719) 539-1175

Winery tours by appt

Tasting room: 134 F Street, Historic Downtown Salida

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, Mon-Sat, art gallery & gifts


Wines: Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

3901 Janitell Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

(719) 576-0075

(I-25 exit 138, east on Circle Drive to Janitell, turn right, 1 mile south)

Tasting Room Hours: Noon-5 daily, gourmet dining by reservation


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Souvignon, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Riesling Ice wine

3708 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7586

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile)

Tasting Room Hours: May-Oct, 9:30-6, daily; Nov-Apr, 10-5


Wines: Honey Wine (Mead), Fruit-blended Honey wines, Fortified Wines.

3701 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7899

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile, on left)

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, daily


Wines: Red Mountain Merlot, Chardonnay, Black Canyon Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Cherry, San Juan Gold, Merlot, Ski Bunny Blush, Muscat Canelli

18380 Hwy 550, Montrose, CO 81401 – (970) 249-3765

(2 miles south of Montrose on Hwy 550, on east side of Hwy 550)

Tasting Room Hours: Summer, 10-6, daily; Winter, noon-6, Noon-Sat; noon-4, Sun


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Blends, Fruit wines

888 Elberta Ave, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970)-464-9288 (I-70 at exit 42)

Tasting room Hours: Summer, 9-7, daily; Spring/Fall, 10-6; Winter, 10-5


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mead

1619 2125 Dr, Cedaredge, CO 81413 – (970) 856-7572

(North on Hwy 65 to 11th Ave, west 1 mile to 2125 Dr, south one block)

Tasting room Hours: Mar-Oct, 11-5, daily; Nov-Feb, 12-4, Fri-Sun; or by appt.


Wines: Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Reserve Chardonnay, Merlot

1708 East Lincoln Avenue, #1, Fort Collins, CO 80524 – (970) 493-7345

(From I-25: west Hwy 14 to Link Lane, north to East Lincoln Ave, right on East
Lincoln Avenue)

Tasting Room Hours: by appt

Surface Creek, Colorado

Wines: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Merlot, Blends, Fruit Wines
4113 West Eisenhower Blvd (US Hwy 34), Loveland, CO 80537 - (970) 635-0949

(7 miles west of I-25, 3 miles west of Loveland)
Tasting Room Hours: Summer, 10-5 daily (closed Tuesday);
Spring/Fall, noon-5 Fri-Sat


Wines: Gewurztraiminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

1750 4175 Dr, Paonia, CO 81428 – (970) 527-3484

(From Paonia: 1 mile east of Hwy 133, north on 4175 Dr. to end)

Tasting Room Hours: 11-5 Fri-Sat or by appt

Another site shows information about the Colorado appellation.

Friuli: Italy’s secret garden

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

There is a place, at the very geographic center of Europe, that is home to one of the most refined food and wine cultures in the world.

Hemingway, Joyce, D’Annunzio, Rilke and Pasolini all lived in this place, and yet it is nearly unknown in the United States, and even in much of Europe. It has been occupied by Julius Caesar (for whom it was named), the Celts, Attila the Hun, the Ottomans, Napoleon (who brought French grapes), the Hapsburgs, Yugoslavia and, ultimately, by Italy.

Cividale del FriuliIt suffered some of the heaviest damage in Europe during two world wars. Much of it was leveled in 1976 by earthquakes. Yet, its people rise again and again, roll up their sleeves, plant food and vines, and plan for a better life.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is the tiny region on the far northeast fringe of Italy where Europe’s three principal cultures — Latin, Slavic and Germanic — converge. It is the home of a subtle cuisine that combines local products with influences that are, literally, all over the map.

The land provides an outstanding array of fruit and vegetables that are eaten only in season. And the Alps offer exquisite herbs that women gather to use in soups, pastas, omelets, poultry dishes and desserts.

The region is also the birthplace of grappa, and the source of an astounding variety of wines, despite its diminutive size. The town of San Daniele has produced a sweet, delicious prosciutto for centuries that rivals Parma’s.

Friulian rivers are full of trout, the forests full of mushrooms and game, the plains planted tall with wheat, rye, hops, barley, and corn for white and yellow polenta.

Underappreciated culinary regions of Europe don’t stay that way for long (just think of Provence or Emilia-Romagna), and then come the tour buses.

But here, in this utterly distinct and yet diverse place, the people are careful guardians of their land and traditions. It feels as if it will stay that way for a long time.

I have family in Friuli and so I visited many times in the 1990’s.

Italians tend to see Friuli-Venezia Giulia as Germanic or Slavic and not really part of their own nation, though much blood was spilled to claim it. Germans, Austrians, Slovenians, Croats and Serbs see it as some middle ground between themselves and Italy.

I quickly learned that the region is deeper, more subtle and infinitely more interesting than its neighbors.

Friuli geography

Università di UdineThe area called Friuli (from Forum Julii, or Julius’ Forum) makes up about 70 percent of the region, mostly in the south, west and north. The main city is Udine, a handsome, hard-working city of 200,000, distinctly Venetian in aspect.

There are more than 100 special little towns in Friuli, like Cividale, which has superb art treasures, excellent local cooking and wonderful wine produced nearby. It is also home to gubana, a yeasty cake filled with nuts and spices and soaked with grappa or plum eau de vie.

The Friulani are fanatically industrious, and have what they call “brick sickness” — an insatiable desire to build. After the 1976 earthquakes, they rebuilt whole cities.

Venezia Giulia

The remaining part of the region is Venezia Giulia (Julian Venice), also named for Julius Caesar. Its citizens, known as Giuliani, resent the fact that most people call the whole region Friuli.

When Friuli was a backwater, Venezia Giulia was a jewel of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Venezia Giulia’s largest city, Trieste, ranked just after Vienna and Budapest in importance and was the empire’s chief port. Cormons is renowned within the region for fantastic food and wine.

Most people in the region speak Italian, and many speak Furlan (the native tongue that incorporates Latin, Slavic and Germanic influences), while Trieste has its own singsong dialect.

Trieste is certainly the most cosmopolitan city in Italy. Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples, for all their charms, are quite provincial. In the end, Milan is trendy and Euroglitzy.

In Trieste, people with many religions and languages all live side by side and interact much in the way New Yorkers of every origin do. There is a vibrant cafe society rivaling Paris’ and Vienna’s, where literature is read, art displayed, and the issues of the day debated.

wine in a Trieste caféThis has always been a city of ideas, and was the first in what is now Italy to embrace Freud and psychoanalysis. In the 12 years Joyce lived in Trieste, he wrote “Dubliners,” “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and part of “Ulysses.”

Trieste is the leading coffee importing and roasting city in Europe, the home to Illy Caffe and Cremcaffe, among others. It is also a major spice port: Cinnamon, nutmeg, poppy seeds, pepper and other flavors entered local cooking as they were transported to Vienna and Budapest. Paprika came from Hungary. Phyllo arrived from Greece and Turkey (and also Vienna).

Just south of Trieste is Istria, a large peninsula on the Adriatic that many Giuliani regard as an amputated limb. In 1954, most of Istria was handed over to Yugoslavia. This led to a mass migration of 350,000 Istrians (in a scene that resembled the recent exodus from Kosovo), many of whom settled in Queens and Los Angeles.

One of the most famous of them is Lidia Bastianich, who moved to New York as a child and grew up to become one of the city’s leading chefs, restaurateurs and cooking teachers.

The dishes at her restaurant, Felidia, are mostly from Istria and Venezia Giulia, while Friulian food can be found at Frico, which Ms. Bastianich owns with her son, Joseph. (A frico is a crisp made of Friulian Montasio cheese, and is the calling card of most restaurants around Udine.)

The people of this region, a product of so many foreign influences, are above all a product of their own land — from the high Alps to the gorgeous hills of the wine country, from the incredibly fertile plains to a mostly pristine and fish-rich part of the Adriatic.

It is land that gives these people their identities. In 1997, I met a 70-year-old Friulian — a former mayor, a businessman and quite worldly, yet in love with his region. He told me, with misting eyes, “When I go for a walk on the land and then come home, I almost feel guilty when I scrape the soles of my shoes.”

Food and cuisine

For its variety, delicacy, sophistication and sheer pleasure-giving, the cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is on the level of the cuisines in Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, Italy’s finest food regions.

If one were to construct a seasonal Friulian menu, it would begin with a springtime of fresh herbs — like mint, verbena, valerian and tarragon — cooked in omelets, with seafood and pounded as sauces for meat.

The star dish is cjarsons, an Alpine filled pasta served as a first course that contains about 40 ingredients, including a dozen herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, lemon and ricotta.

In the plains, white asparagus is served with chopped boiled egg that has been softened with wine vinegar. Orzotto, or barley risotto, is made with fresh-picked hops. Soft pork sausage is shaped in patties and sauteed in delicate wine vinegar.

Summer means seafood, so fish stew from Grado might be featured, along with polipo alla dalmata (octopus with potatoes), cozze alla triestina (mussels in a broth made with thyme, onion, garlic, white wine, bread crumbs and parsley) and sea scallops broiled in their shells with local olive oil and thyme. Omelets will contain zucchini flowers and smoked ricotta.

Gnocchi are filled with the fruit of the moment (apricots, then cherries, then plums) and are served with cinnamon, sugar and melted butter.

In autumn, delicate prosciutto di San Daniele will be served with September figs (with grated fresh horseradish at other times). After the harvest, grape skins will be used to make grappa or to ferment beets to make a dish called brovada. Vegetable soups are typical first courses, followed by venison cooked with spices or berries.

Although polenta is eaten year-round, it is the central dish of winter. Large copper pots yield slow-moving rivers of this meal, which is poured onto round wooden boards, where it hardens and is cut into sections with thread. Stews, including goulash made of equal parts beef and onion, are supporting players.

When polenta cools, it can be grilled, pan-fried or served to children with cinnamon and sugar. Hearty soups, grilled pork, stewed fruit and frico all come to the table, with warming snifters of grappa.

Friuli wines

And then there is the region’s wine. With sheltering hills, generous sun, cooling sea breezes and skilled growers and winemakers, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is one of the world’s great zones, although its production is quite small compared with other regions’. The Collio zone (in Venezia Giulia) and the Colli Orientali (in Friuli) are the most outstanding.

Native white grapes like tocai, ribolla gialla, malvasia istriana and verduzzo make wines of distinct character. Pinot bianco, pinot grigio, chardonnay, riesling, traminer aromatico, mueller thurgau and, especially, sauvignon blanc have found congenial terrain there.

Often, winemakers will blend different grapes to produce wines of extraordinary structure, depth, character and finish, like Collio bianco, a blend of tocai, ribolla gialla and sauvignon blanc.

Friulian red wine is not as well known, in part because most people associate fine Italian red wine with the Tuscany’s Chianti and brunello or the Piedmontese Barbaresco and Barolo.

A native Friulian red grape, pignolo, is only now being discovered abroad, and at its finest (by Walter Filiputti and Abbazia di Rosazzo, and some older Dorigo vintages) it makes a miraculous wine, with flavors of sun, earth and fruit.

Lighter native reds like refosco, schiopettino, terrano and tazzelenghe are distinctive on their own or in blends. Pinot nero, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and, especially, merlot make outstanding wines.

All of these grapes are used to make grappa. In the early 1970s, the Nonino family were the first to realize that each grape had its own properties, and rather than blend them into harsh firewater, they distilled each grape individually for a range of postprandial libations of great delicacy.

With its splendid fruit, Friuli also produces some of the finest distillates of plums, peaches, pears, cherries and apricots.

Friulian winemakers have also invented another blend, fitting for a place so close to the Kosovo war, yet where Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Orthodox followers of the Greek, Serbian and Russian churches live in harmony.

It is called Vino della Pace, Wine of Peace. A blend of international grapes, it is sent to world leaders as a metaphor for coexistence.

As planes return to their hangars in NATO’s Aviano air base in Friuli, the people of this region, who have known too much war and have chosen peace, will be making the last Vino della Pace of the century, and will toast to the moment when enjoying the pleasures of the table and companionship will be more important than finding yet another way to cause suffering.