Nicolas Contenta in Friuli

8:30 slaughter.... midnight grappa


A group of fearless bloggers is now in Friuli, Italy, and reporting daily on their adventures. All of their blog posts can be found at as well as on each individual's blog. We are thrilled to be able to bring their reporting to you and encourage you to visit their blogs daily for exciting Friulian updates from Jeremy Parzen, David McDuff, Samantha Dugan, Wayne Young, Alfonso Cevola, and Nicolas Contenta.

What follows was originally posted by Nicolas Contenta on 2/9/11 on his blog

Tuesday, day 2  Alfonso, Mcduff and I woke up a bit early for a chance to visit the uncle of Filippo Butussi in his family's Macelleria. They were slaughtering two pigs and Filippo picked us up himself to go witness the still very small slaughterhouse in action. It happens to be one of the last surviving spots around that is completely family operated and still using traditional methods. In one day they will slaughter three pigs and prepare all of the meat (salame, sausages, headcheese and sanguinaccio, a typical blood sausage prepared with bread) not wasting any part of the pig. It takes only 4 men and afterwards they will eat pannini and sip some local Tocai together. Filippo reminisced about years ago when the slaughter would take place and end in a celebration. ''It was much more normal to witness a pig slaughtering in that time, then it is nowadays''. The whole family would show up, drink wine and they would cook the freshly butchered meat on the spot and eat together. Half jokingly he said ''I bambini non andavano a scuola quel giorno!'' (the kids wouldn't go to school on that day!)

Filippo Butussi explains the sparkling Friulano which he poured right before we sat down at Monday's lunch. The small vertical of Tocai was amazing and the 1999 Valentino Butussi Tocai Friulano, was a huge hit among ''the magnificent six''. Mcduff posted on the visit here: ''Learning and lunching at Villa Butussi in Corno di Rosazzo''

The Picolit wines were by the far the most interesting in the sweet department on this trip so far. The 2003, 1999 and 1988 all being made with different styles, the 2003 the most concentrated and big...It reminded me of certain Sauternes I have tasted in the past. The lunch on Day 1 was a very memorable one at Butussi, amazing and traditional Cucina Friulana with incredible older vintage wines that we werent expecting...
thanks Filippo and Butussi family!

The rest of Day 2 went smoothly and less jam packed and rushed as Day 1. I am still amazed everytime Jeremy is translating for the group, he is one of the most talented guys (especially in the wine world) that I have met. Wayne is not too shabby either and is a super cool guy to taste with, I love his descriptions and tasting notes. I can't believe how much our group is on the same level for never meeting each other before this trip... But after all we are the magnificent six, or ''i magnifici sei'' as written up in the local newspaper....

Our dinner led us into the home of Zorzettig, probably the most stunning home I have had the pleasure to eat dinner in. Annalisa was really sweet and gave us the first tasting of tank sample 2010 Tocai Friulano, which she was excited to hear our thoughts on the not so well received vintage. We drank all white wine with our hearty dinner which was absolutely delicious unexpected and well taken by Do Bianchi. We even tasted another version of the classic barley and bean dish that everyone seems to have their own spin on in this area... I tasted the first locally made friulian olive oil of the trip, which since I'm an olive oil fanatic really stoked me. Lastly, we finally were offered some grappa which really soothed the soul in a much needed way. This led to the ''magnificent five'' returning for some private relaxing social grappa drinking at Il Roncal which was just fucking fabulous. Sgnape and Smokes, a much needed session by all of us....

We drank the Grappa di Schoppettino by Nonino gifted to Alfonso and Jeremy was one of the best grappa I have ever tasted, really light and prancing on the palate, before we realized it, we killed this bottle and as Samantha put it, ''Yes, and if we had another one, we would finish that as well!''

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