Marco Felluga Russiz Superiore, the Pinot Grigio made art in Collio

Russiz Superiore

Originally published in 02/01/2017.

We have talked in the past about the well-deserved fame the region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia has of producing some of the best white wines in Italy. We had already visited Azienda Agricola Castello Di Rubbia producing excellent Malvasia wines and Azienda Agricola Primosic producing awesome Ribolla Gialla wines. Of course they produce more white wines, and also red wines, but we were delighted by the wines they produce with these two varietals. It was time now to continue discovering more white wines in the region and one of the varieties that also excels here is the Pinot Grigio. For this, there is no better place to do it than Tenuta Marco Felluga. Felluga is a family who owns two different estates both producing excellent wines. They are not far from each other, and each of them produces its own line of wines, not being one of them the top one and the other the second line, but on the contrary two different styles of winery. Tenuta Marco Felluga is located in Gradisca d’Isonzo, Gorizia, and it owns 100 hectares of vineyards spread around the surrounding villages, while 15 kilometers down the road it is Russiz Superiore, in Capriva Del Friuli, Gorizia. We headed to this second winery.

Russiz Superiore is a winery built in the mold of the French Bordeaux Châteaux, with 50 hectares of vineyards surrounding the main building, which lays on top of a small hill and where besides hosting the cellar and a small Relais, it is also the family residence. The name of the winery doesn’t refer to a quality of being superior or inferior but rather to the hills in which the estate is located, named like that since many centuries ago.

The Felluga family has a winemaking tradition of over 100 years. Marco Felluga, the patriarch, is the fourth generation of the family while his son Roberto is the one commanding nowadays the business. He oversees both estates at the same time he is the chief winemaker for both.

For our visit, Camilla Manzato took really good care of us. We visited the steel tanks area in an auxiliary building and then we moved on to the main house. We accessed the inner parts of the hill through a big wooden door protected by an eagle, the emblem of Russiz Superiore since the times of the Roman Empire. Here we visited the aging rooms and also a fantastic small room, the Wine Library, where you can find bottles of every vintage produced here in the last 50 years. Camilla got us so jealous telling us that couple of weeks earlier they had tasted a bottle of Russiz Superiore Collio Pinot Bianco 1985 and it was superb, fully alive. Imagine drinking a white wine aged more than 30 years and still in its plenitude.

Then we went to the house, where by a cozy fire there was a big dining table. This was the place for our wine tasting. But before we started, Don Marco and Don Roberto joined us for a fantastic time together. With every wine we tasted they gave tasting notes and information about the way they produce each of them.

Camilla made a great selection of wines from both Marco Felluga and Russiz Superiore, all of them DOC Collio. We started with the Ribolla Gialla 2013 by Marco Felluga. Being a loyal reader as you are know that we love Ribolla Gialla, and this Ribolla is really wonderful. Fruity, well-balanced, and really smooth, a wine to drink for ages. We continued with another local variety, Russiz Superiore Friulano 2015. Again, a great wine. Really young, with a nice acidity and a fruity nose. In the mouth really balanced in acidity and fruit. These two wines stay over the lees for at least eight months before being bottled.

For the third wine we continued with Russiz Superiore, this time the Sauvignon 2011. 15% of this wine ferments in wood, while the rest does it on steel tanks. Smooth wine again as the first two. Superb wine, with a great balance and really round in the mouth.

Then the star of the night. A wine really complex with an unbelievable structure. Marco Felluga Pinot Grigio Riserva Mongris 2013. The name Mongris comes from the contraction of “monovarietal” and the Friulano word for Pinot Grigio, Gris. 30% of the wine ages in oak barrels. Then, when the two parts are put together the wine stays on the lees for two more years. This is an amazing wine, complex and well-structured, smooth as silk and so much enjoyable.

We finished the tasting with a red wine, Russiz Superiore Merlot 2013. We love Merlot, and this one is a great example of a Merlot that we love.

They produce white and red wines in both estates, some young and some Riserva. Most of them are single varietals coming from vines producing only over one kilogram of grapes. They do produce one special blend: Collio Bianco Col Disôre. 40% Pinot Bianco, 35% Tocai Friulano, 15% Sauvignon and 10% Ribolla Gialla. The fermentation took place in 15 to 30 hectoliter oak casks. The wine aged on the lees for about 12 months and was bottle-aged one more year.

Marco Felluga is a producer worth knowing and tasting their wines. Both estates produce great wines, and the white ones are so enjoyable.

Soon we will talk to Roberto Felluga about his wines and his winemaking philosophy.

Photos (c) Marco Felluga Russiz superiore