Mature peaches, apple and wild flowers on the nose lead to a fresh and balanced white wine, the fruity and floral notes coming together in a remarkably long finish. Russiz Superiore’s Pinot Bianco Collio DOC is an elegant white wine from Friuli in the northeast of Italy. It is made from 100% local Pinot Bianco grapes, grown in the hills of Collio by the Felluga family. This Friulian Pinot Bianco is delicious when paired with medium-aged cheese, San Daniele ham or white meat dishes.
Down the ages
The Felluga family, originally from Izola in modern-day Slovenia (visible from the family’s vineyards) moved to Friuli at the behest of patriarch Giovanni, who passed on his love for wine-making to son, Marco. Marco is now 91. A notable figure in Friulian oenology, Marco passed on the baton to his son Roberto, who is the face of the company now. Very much the doting father, Roberto introduces us to Ilaria, his beautiful daughter and next-in-line ambassador of the family’s 250 acres of vineyards.
We are in the carefully sculpted gardens of the mansion in the heart of the vineyards and delicate canapés set the stage for the evening, coupled with glasses of chilled white wine from the family’s cellars. Roberto’s favourite wine is the Collio Bianco Col Disore Russiz Superiore, a blend of Pinot Bianco, Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Sauvignon Blanc.
He says, “Col Disore represents the uniqueness of our terroir, expressing great fruit, complexity, structure and minerality… all features recognisable of the region and the appellation.”
We are a group of 11, on the last leg of our wine-laced travels through Veneto and Friuli. We started at the 52nd edition of Vinitaly, the famous annual showcase of Italian wines, and are all part of the Il Dolce Vino Project, which has set up a network of Italics Wine Clubs (IWCs) in Indian cities to promote Italian wines and culture.
The project was launched in India by the Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce to promote the enduring culture of Italian wines. The first course was conducted across two full days, followed by an examination for certification in Mumbai in 2017. Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune followed suit, and Chennai will in September.
India took the lead in the project, followed by Switzerland early this year. Thailand and Vietnam will join in soon.
“The wealth of Italian wines is in the diversity of its terroir: Italy boasts more than 450 autonomous wine grapes, which shape an innumerable variety of landscapes and traditions. The ambition of the project Il Dolce Vino is precisely to convey this wealth,” says Claudio Maffioletti, secretary general, Indo-Italian Chamber of Commerce.
The course delves into the culture, regions and stories behind Italian wines, and the appeal it holds. Italy is the world’s second-largest exporter of wine in terms of value, behind France. The country has 3,40,000 wine producers, a yearly output of 50 million hectolitres, and exports worth €5.5 billion.
“This course is the first-ever certification of Italian culture, wines and gastronomy. No wonder many WSET 3 (a Wine & Spirit Education Trust certification) holders have done the course already in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata,” says Subhash Arora, president, Indian Wine Academy. Subhash has been part of the Il Dolce Vino Project in India, conducting courses on wine education with Luca Bernardini.
(Italics Wine Club by the Il Dolce Vino Project will launch in Chennai at Focaccia, Hyatt Regency Chennai on September 14, 2018.)