Friday, July 14, 2017

Uncovering Collio's Gems With Venica & Venica

Venica & Venica's estate vineyards in Collio, Italy. Credit: Venica & Venica.
Venica & Venica’s story begins in 1930, when Austrian-born Daniele Venica purchased a small house and property in Dolegna del Collio, in north-eastern Italy. After the ravages of World War 2, he and his son Adelchi worked together to buy up neglected vineyards.

Today, they maintain estate vineyards spread across a 70-acre estate, allowing varieties of local and international grapes to thrive. Adelchi’s sons, Gianni and Giorgio, carry on the tradition by producing wines that show freshness, minerality, and demand a spot on a table surrounded by food. I couldn’t find an unexciting wine in the bunch, and a few are shockingly good.

I received these wines as trade samples and tasted them sighted.

2016 Venica & Venica Collio Sauvignon Ronco del Cerò - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
SRP: $24
Light yellow color. Popping aromas of white peaches, lime, nectarine, so bright with honeysuckle, lemon verbena, chalk dust, oregano. Medium-bodied palate with a pleasantly plump texture and lip-smacking acidity. Limes, white peaches, apricot, zesty fruit complemented by honey, floral perfume, chalk dust. Plush texture but crisp, packed with depth and complexity. (90 points)

2016 Venica & Venica Collio Sauvignon Ronco delle Mele - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
SRP: $49
Medium yellow color. Deeper, more concentrated nose than the Ronca del Cero, but opens up to show orange, lime, apricot, lots of crushed chalk, mountain streams, limestone dust and nettle. Plush texture but focused acidity, ripe and juicy fruit (lime, apricot, some richer mango, too) but it stays so fresh. Notes of raw almond, honeycomb, mineral, mountain stream, the complexity is really impressive. From a single vineyard planted in 1983. Wow. (91 points)

2016 Venica & Venica Collio Pinot Grigio Jesera - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
SRP: $21
A beautiful light copper color in the glass. Nose shows nettle, honeysuckle, oregano, chalk dust, on top of lemon and orange pith. Rich textural depth on the palate but crisp acidity, the wine is balanced with plump orange and peach fruit, drizzled with lime. Salty, spicy notes, lots of wildflower and wild grass elements, hints of almond and honeyed tea. This is absolutely delicious but also shows a lot of depth and complexity. Not your normal Pinot Grigio, this is something else — and it’s awesome. (90 points)

2016 Venica & Venica Collio Friulano - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
SRP: $38
Light gold color. Lemon pith, orange peel, crushed chalk, white pepper, green onion, sweet floral perfume, there is a lot going on aromatically. Fresh acidity keeps the wine tangy, but plump fruit (papaya, pear) mixes with bitter lemon and lime, and there are lots of complex elements of white flowers, wild grass, chalk dust, honeycomb, graham cracker – a lot of fascinating and vibrant flavors in here, and there’s a crisp, lingering sense of minerals and lip-smacking acidity on the finish. An excellent take on this indigenous white grape, done expertly. (91 points)

2015 Venica & Venica Collio Merlot - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Collio
SRP: $16
Bright ruby color. Smells like tart red and black cherries, highly complex notes of tobacco, rose hips, graphite, wet forest floor, incense sticks. Vibrant acidity on the palate, nice grip from the tannins, this is a food-friendly but structured medium-bodied wine. Tart black and red cherries are laced with rose petals, tobacco, black pepper, soy. Lovely balance, the freshness is key but this wine has a lot of depth. (90 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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