Zuani is a family-owned winery carrying on the traditions of a oenophilic dynasty which began in the late 1800s in Istria. Today, fifth generation Patrizia Felluga follows in the footsteps of her father — the legendary vintner Marco Felluga — and works with the sixth generation — her children Antonio and Caterina — in running the Zuani wine estate in the Collio DOC zone of Friuli Venezia Giulia. In the corner of northeastern Italy, tucked between Austria and Slovenia. The Collio DOC zone produces some of Friuli’s best white wines, marked by crisp acidity, ripe fruit and great minerality. The Fellugas believe that “the soul of the wine is created from the soil that gives it life, the light that shines on it and the air that gives it fragrance.”
The family concentrates on making only two white wines, Zuani Vigne and Zuani Riserva (the word Zuani is a historical geographic name for the area found on an ancient map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.)
Both wines are a blend of two indigenous Friulian grapes —Pinot Grigio and Friulano — and two international varieties —Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, all of which thrive in the region. The Vigne wines are fermented in stainless steel to enhance their fresh, fruity personality; the grapes for Zuani Zuani are aged in French oak. The resulting wines are the Zuani Vigne wines are which are soft, with good fruit, mineral notes and good acidity. The Zuani Zuani wines are richer, more complex, fuller bodied and capable of aging well. The family was in New York recently to talk about Zuani Casa, the beautiful new five-suite luxury country inn they are opening this year on the property, and while we were pondering wandering through the vineyards, traipsing through the family garden to pick produce for dinner, and puttering around the bucolic countryside via Vespa, we did a tasting of some of the current vintages.
Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2013: A powerful, floral nose, full bodied with balanced acidity and a long finish
Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2012: This was the warmest summer in recent memory and very dry. The resulting wine is rounder and fuller, with less acidity.
Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2011: This vintage best represents the best of Collio, with a great balance between rain and sun during the growing season. Floral, citrusy crisp, with good acidity. The 2011 also has good aging potential — it will lose a little bit of the varietal nose but gains further minerality and depth.
Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2010: This was a slightly cooler vintage. Very perfumed and floral, with great minerality and acidity with lots of grapefruit, lime, and melon.
Zuani Collio Bianco Riserva 2012: This was a very warm vintage which is better for the riserva — less acidity goes well with the oak. Aromatic, citrusy, with a hint of vanilla and toast from the oak.
Zuani Collio Bianco Riserva 2011: Light oak and white fruit. long lemon fruit finish with ground ginger and cardamom, accented by green hints of rhubarb and freshly chopped herbs and a dash of vanilla.