As mentioned in my recent post …leave a paradise, I visited Cormons in the center of one of my favorite wine regions Collio (Friuli Venezia Giulia, IT).
The paradox of choice
"Collio" is rolling hills cultivated as if they were private gardens. This is their benefit and problem. Many wineries in a small region produce a broad variety of wines with indigenous wine varieties.
I like the Collio (Tokai) Friulano, (Pinot) Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla,…and Merlot… But, if I finally have selected, I might need to come and be patient.
Rarer with the square of distance
Most of the wineries are so small and their varieties so manyfold that not much bottles find their ways outside the region, Italy.... Of course, you can find wines of the larger top vintners, like Livio Felluga, Marco Felluga, Villa Russiz… world-wide.
But, my favorite winery of the whole Friulian wine region (Collio, Carso, Colli Orientali, Friuli-Grave, ..) is rather small: Borgo Del Tiglio. Its owner and wine maker Nicola Manferrari took a degree in Pharmacology and worked in his mother's pharmacy, before he took over the small family vineyard and firm. He decided to produce wines of the major local grapes…and the top selections in "pharmacy volumes".
I never managed to buy a bottle of their top wine "Rosso Della Centa" (Merlot), outside a restaurant. Only about 1000 bottles of RDC are made in great years.
Last Friday I showed friends their little exhibition room (the former pharmacy). And...drumroll…Nicola Manferrari sold me three bottles of his outstanding and rare RDC 2007. The first after many tries over years.
BTW, Merlot is not a wine that readily comes to mind when discussing Italian wine. But they have increased in popularity.
2007, Masseto, Tenuta dell'Ornelaia - average EUR 450
2007, Redigaffi, Tua Rita - average EUR 185
2007, Messorio, Le Macchiole - average EUR 150
2007, L'Aperita, Castello di Ama - average EUR 125
(all from Toscany) are the most celebrated and wanted representatives.
The RDC is sold at EUR 65 at the winery. And, IMO, it can compete with the above.
Other recommended Merlots from Friuli:
Graf de la Tour, Villa Russiz
Maurus, Vie de Romans
Semidis, Masut Da Rive
There are a few cult properties in Friuli - one is "Miani". They make two Merlot, Buri and Filip, both above EUR 200 a bottle. Again, I prefer RDC (for its elegance and fine structure compared to the very rich body of the Miani's...).
There's one more thing. My surreptitious favorite grape in the Friuli region (dominantly Colli Orientali) is the autochthonous Pignolo. Rare and recently rescued it shows great potential. Usually, one ha of a Pignolo vineyard does not produce more than 1200 bottles.
In one of my next off topic posts, I'll tell how I got three bottles of a special Pignolo edition that was made by a famous vintner for a celebrated restaurant.
p.s. today, I googled and found another source of the 2007, Rosso Della Centa ;)