From: Collio Goriziano, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Varietal: 100% Pinot Grigio
Tasting Notes: Collio's hilly terrain is well known for producing excellent white wines. This estate-grown Pinot Grigio gains added richness from the 15% of the juice fermented in barrels. Pinot Grigio is the most important grape variety in Friuli and has been grown in the Collio area since the second half of the 1800s.
Pairing: Cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables and fish dishes
In the commune of Capriva del Friuli, in the heart of the Collio wine area on the border of Slovenia, is the estate of Russiz Superiore. Russiz as a place-name is traced back at least as far as 1273, when a certain Raimondo della Torre became the patriarch of Aquileia (basically, prince-bishop of Friuli). He named his estate Russiz Superiore due to its high (superior) location above the hamlet of Russiz. Russiz name comes from local toponym “rusic” which derives from the Slavic word “rusa” for grassland/turf.
The estate passed through innumerable hands over the next several centuries but was apparently known for most of that time as a source of fine wine grapes. In 1967, the property became available for sale. Marco Felluga—owner of a self-named winery in the nearby town of Gradisca d’Isonzo—recognized the superb potential of the vineyard land and purchased the winery. He knew the estate, already famed for its Cabernet Franc, could become the jewel of the family holdings. So, rather than folding Russiz Superiore into the family’s existing vineyards, he decided to maintain it as a separate working estate, vinified and bottled as a distinct brand.
Russiz Superiore estate Is just over 200 acres, but only 125 are vineyards. They only produce wines from estate-grown fruit, most of these being single vineyards by varietal. The estate is planted to both native and international grape varieties, Friulano, Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio for the whites, and Cabernet Franc and Merlot for the reds. To further distinguish the Russiz Superiore line, the white wines generally have about 15–20% of the juice fermented in large oak barrels. Their Collio Sauvignon as well as their blended white, Col Disore, are both highly awarded. The well-respected Cabernet Franc vines also produce an excellent red wine for the portfolio.
The history of the Felluga family traces back five generations, starting in the late 1800s in Istria (part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Eventually, the family relocated to the Collio, and in 1956 Marco Felluga winery was founded, in Gradisca d’Isonzo, about 15 minutes south of Russiz Superiore. Today, Marco’s son, Roberto Felluga manages both estates.
Relais Russiz Superiore is a small, country house located on the estate that is available for lodging.
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