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The wines of Venica & Venica, Friuli, Italy

Azienda Agricola Venica & Venica, I-34070 Dolegna del Collio, località Cerò, Via Menico 42, Italy
Tel: +39 0481 61264 Fax: +39 0481 639906
Website: www.venica.it E-mail: venica@venica.it
UK agent: Alfie Fiandaca (tel 020 8752 1222)

This is a family owned estate with 28 ha of vines in the Dolegna district of Collio. This region, in the northeast corner of the country, bordering Slovenia, is well known for its crisp, delicately textured whites. As well as indigenous grapes such as Tocai, Malvasia, Picolit and Ribolla, international varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot have also found a home here. These wines aren’t cheap, but they offer something different.

Sauvignon 1999, DOC Collio
Five different clones of Sauvignon Blanc are grown; these are vinified separately for added complexity. 30 000 bottles produced. Intense varietally true nose is grassy and fresh. Well balanced palate shows good herby fruit and nice acid on the finish. A nice example. Very good/excellent (£8.05)

Pinot Grigio 2000, DOC Collio
Tank fermented; 25 000 bottles made. Very modern, rich nose with spicy, crisp fruit. Full flavoured palate is crisp and modern with a spicy finish. Tasty, fresh and very youthful. Very good (£7.65)

Bernizza Chardonnay, DOC Collio
40% of the wine was fermented in large oak barrels; 6000 bottles made. Fresh, slightly nutty nose with clean fruit. Quite rounded palate with some honeyed, minerally fruit. Good concentration, but a lighter style; this is nice in a modern mould. Very good+ (£8.61)

Collio Tres Vignis, DOC Collio
A blend of Tocai, Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes, half of which is fermented in large oak barrels. Just 4000 bottles produced. Tight-knit herby/floral nose leads to a complex, rich herby palate. This is a fresh wine with a nice texture: it succeeds in being full flavoured yet at the same time delicate. Very good/excellent (£10.99)

Merlot Perilla 1997, DOC Collio
From the Perils vineyard, this wine is aged in French oak. 8000 bottles produced. Deep coloured. Lovely intense fragrant nose of leafy, minerally berry fruit. The palate displays bright, assertive cool-climate fruit. Very pure and delicious. Very good/excellent (£12.65)

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wines tasted November 2001