Varietal: Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso
Critical Acclaim: 90 pt Vinous
The 2015 Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Ronco dei Moreri has a lot of upfront appeal, displaying a mix of wild berries, mint, sage and autumnal spices. Its textures are silky, giving way to polished black fruits, complicated by a complex web of minerals and fine-grained tannins. The 2015 could use another year or two to come into focus, and there's enough structural heft and primary components here to carry this for many years in the cellar. - Eric Guido
Taste: Now eight years of age, this charming red from Italy’s northeast shows off mellowed tannins and integrated fruit. Notes of rich blackcurrant, plum, and blackberries coincide with tobacco, clove, balsamic, and earthy aromas which transition in kind to the palate. Once the wine opens, you’ll find notes of cocoa, olive, and licorice melding with more sweet spice and wild blackberry.
Pairing: Excellent with red meat dishes, grilled red meat. Other great pairing options include beef bourguignon, moussaka, braised beef cheeks with chili and lime (we’re sharing a recipe inspired by this note below for Melissa Clark’s Lamb and White Bean Chili), Pasta all'amatriciana, risotto with mushrooms, and cold cuts and salami.
Lamb and White Bean Chili
By Melissa Clark
About. Marco Felluga’s Ronco dei Moreri is made from 100% Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, a very old varietal documented growing in Venezia Giulia since 1467. The vineyard’s name describes its position. In the Friulian dialect, Ronco refers to the top of a hill and the mulberry trees (moreri) surrounding the vineyard.
Refosco, pluralized as the Refoschi is an ancient group of closely related dark-skinned grape varietals. Their origins include Northern Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia, western Slovenia, and Croatia's Istrian Peninsula. Because of their age and geographical spread, the Refoschi have many different sub-varietals and synonyms. A 2005 study combining ampelography (the field of botany concerned with identifying and classifying grapevines) and DNA profiling identified six distinct varietals.
Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, which translates to “Refosco with the red stems,” is the group's star. The wines here have impressive fruit intensity (dark stone fruit), laced with violets, spices, and mineral and tart acidity. Refosco is a late-ripening grape varietal, and if harvested too early, it can produce harsh, unripe tannins.
The winery. The Felluga family traces its wine industry lineage to the late 1800s when Roberto Felluga’s great-great-grandfather Michele started a business buying and selling wines in Istria (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Michele’s son Marco added winemaking to the business, growing grapes and making some wine on the family farm just south of Trieste in what is now southwestern Slovenia. After World War I, Marco’s son Giovanni continued the family wine trade, selling Istrian wine in Trieste and in Grado in southern Friuli. He also opened a cellar in Gradisca d’Isonzo in Collio in 1938, but World War II soon broke out, disrupting life for a decade.
After the war, Istria became part of Soviet-dominated Yugoslavia, the family lost their farm there, and Collio became their home. Two of Giovanni’s seven children ultimately established wineries in the vicinity. Marco Felluga, after graduating from the renowned enology school in Conegliano, worked for his elder brother Livio for a while before Livio left to open his own winery in Rosazzo. Marco stayed in the walled 15th-century fortress town of Gradisca d’Isonzo and founded his eponymous winery in 1956.
A major milestone for the company came in 1967 when Marco Felluga purchased the Russiz Superiore estate in Capriva del Friuli, five miles north of Gradisca d’Isonzo. This ancient property added another 125 acres of cru-level vineyards to the business. Marco decided to operate it as a separate entity, with its own line of estate-grown wines, rather than combining them with the family’s existing vineyards.
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