The Collio region of northeast Italy, about 90 minutes from the Venice airport, shares a common border with Slovenia and many of its winemaking traditions, as the coastal part of Slovenia was once part of Italy. With the Adriatic at its front door and the Alps at its back, Collio mainly produces white wines, although there are also some nice reds.
One of the best-known winemaking families in the region is the Fellugas. Brothers Livio Felluga and Marco Felluga started their own eponymous wineries years ago, and today Marco’s children are very active in winemaking. Roberto took over from his father at the Marco Felluga and Russiz Superiore wineries, while Patrizia and her children founded the white-wine-only Zuani and sister Alessandra runs Castello Buttrio.
Here are 10 recent releases from Roberto’s and Patrizia’s wineries.
2009 Marco Felluga Refosco dal Peduncolo Venezia Giulia rosso ($18). Refosco is a popular regional red grape, and here is makes a lovely, rich wine with tart, but dark cherry aromas and flavors and a touch of balsamic earthiness. It would be ideal with boar and other game.
2010 Russiz Superiore Collio cabernet franc ($26). (Russiz Superiore is a geographic name and not a quality designation.) This is an enjoyable, plucky food wine — lean, a little green savoriness, crisp in the finish.
2011 Zuani Vigne Collio biano ($24). The grapes are the native pinot grigio and friulano and international varieties sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, both widely used in Collio. This blend is without oak — juicy, very pretty, touch of mint, nice mouth feel, ripe fruit, light acidity — just an excellent wine.
2010 Zuani "Zuani" Collio bianco riserva ($26). Same grapes with oak aging. It has the flavors of fresh table grapes with citrus, particular orange, from the wood. Yes, I know it has two Zuanis in the name, but they like it that way.
2010 Marco Felluga "Molamatta" Collio bianco ($23). Lightly oaked, good fruit, fragrant, a touch of cleansing bitters, hint of tannins.
2011 Russiz Superiore Collio sauvignon ($23). Slightly gamey, grassy, juicy with good volume.
2007 Russiz Superiore "Col Disôre" Collio bianco ($18). A nice older wine — lightly sweet, old-wood flavors, a touch of sorghum, aging nicely.
2011 Marco Felluga “Mongris” Collio pinot grigio ($18). Typical pinot grigio flavors but with a little more substance. Fruity, with nice bitters around the edges.
2011 Marco Felluga Collio friulano ($18). Pleasantly assertive — a good mixture of tart and rich — with some cheesy, lactic flavors in the finish.
2005 Russiz Superiore Venezia Giulana IGT "Horus" Bianco ($26/ half bottle). Primarily from the picolit grape, it’s a delightful sweet wine — waxy with a lot of lemon zest and white pepper at the edges.