Tasting Wines of i Clivi at Lower Falls Wine Co.

On May 15th I had the pleasure of tasting through some wines of different vintages presented by maker Ferdinando Zanusso of i Clivi of Friuli, Italy. The tasting was held at Lower Falls Wine Co. of Newton, MA (located on Rt. 16 on the Newton-Wellesley line). This is an elegant light-infused wine shop with beautiful blond wood fixtures and a well-heeled clientèle.

I had previously enjoyed the i Clivi 2000 Galea Rosso (100% Merlot), but know that i Clivi is more generally known for elegant white wines made from local grape varietals Tocai Friulano, Verduzzo Friulano, Malvasia Istriana, and others. Friuli is at the upper right tip of Italy, and the 2 i Clivi vineyards (Brazan, Galea) are very nearly in Slovenia near the Adriatic Sea in Collio and Colli Orientali del Fruili D.O.C.s, respectively.  i Clivi will be certified with the next vintage as 100% Organic.

I tasted the 1999 Galea Bianco and found it to be aromatically very exciting and quite complex with a beautiful lingering finish.  The 2002 Galea and Brazan Bianco cuvees are subtly different but both quite pleasing. The 2003 Galea (the latest vintage) is from a very hot growing year and not quite as refined as either 2002, to my palate.

Mr. Zanusso answered many questions about his Organic winemaking techniques.  I avoided asking him about Friuli cult winemaker Josko Gravner, about whom I know he has strong opinions, even though I was somewhat curious.


May 18, 2008 - Posted by | Wine | , ,


  1. This was an excellent tasting and I still need to write up my own notes as well. I too found the 1999 Galeas to be superb.

    Comment by RichardA | May 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi Richard! I should have mentioned that it was through your blog A Passionate Foodie that I heard about this tasting! Thanks for the heads-up.

    Comment by bloviatrix | May 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. In fact, the one who expressed “strong” opinions about cult winemaker Josko Gravner was Zanusso Junior (me), not Senior (the Zanusso present at Lower Falls tasting). If you are curious about asking his opinions, please go ahead: he’ll be happy to answer.

    Comment by Mario Zanusso | May 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hello Mario – Thanks for noticing and responding to my blog post. Your Dad is a nice man and your wines are very elegant and enjoyable! I just bought out the local supply at Groton Market, my local wine store! (Where I think you know JP)(Or maybe again that’s your Dad). Yes, looking back at that post on mondosapore, it was you quoted about Gravner. I don’t have an opinion about Gravner as have never tasted his wines. I admire your frankness and honestly though quite a bit! Cheers.

    Comment by bloviatrix | May 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hi Sharon – Thank you for your appreciation of our wines.
    My jokes about the “sacral aura” that surrounds anything about Mr Gravner were taken as a serious “opinion” about his wines. Then, it’s like cream mounting…

    Comment by Mario Zanusso | May 19, 2008 | Reply

  6. I hear ya. Sometimes communication on the Internet is difficult without the accompanying visual cues. I personally appreciate how your wines are organically made, yet super elegant, clean, contemporary, and affordable, which you can’t always say about the amphora dude’s :-).

    Comment by bloviatrix | May 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. The sacral aura that Mario mentions irks me beyond belief. And Ferdinando (Zanusso pere) is a fantastic guy. These people and their wines are exceptional.

    I’ve just posted about their Merlot…

    Ciao, love ya, don’t ever change.

    Comment by Terry Hughes | June 23, 2008 | Reply

  8. Hi Terry – Thanks for your comment. I love their Merlot, too! It’s beautiful stuff. Va bene, Strappo!

    Comment by bloviatrix | June 24, 2008 | Reply

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