Having just turned 50, DOC Collio is one of Italy’s oldest appellations and one of the country’s greatest white wines. It is located in North-East Italy, on the border with Slovenia.
Gilbert & Gaillard staged a conference and tasting dedicated to Collio during Vinexpo. Hosted by François Gilbert and Isabel Ferran, the event was organised in conjunction with the DOC Collio consortium whose chairman, Robert Princic, and head of promotion, Francesco Bonini, attended.
Over a diminutive (1,500 hectares), yet high quality appellation area boasting flysch soils composed of sandy marl, limestone, potassium and silica, DOC Collio producers are committed to producing wines with genuine sense of place. The varietal range has a common denominator in terms of profile: persistent mineral notes, balanced acidity and aromatic complexity. Vineyards are grown on hillsides, hence the name, imparting complexity due to differing aspects.
The broad range of grape varieties and strong personalities of Collio wine growers make it difficult to promote the wines using a single line of communication. The Collio Bianco blend may provide the answer, allowing this top white wine to be marketed to the niche gourmet food market it is designed for by demonstrating its substantial longevity.
Three single varietals and a blend were tasted. Three different wines were tasted for each style.
- Friulano, also known as Sauvignon vert or Sauvignonasse, produces silky, mouth-coating wines displaying exuberant aromas of wild flowers, almonds and citrus, driven by vegetal notes of asparagus and parsley and balsamic scents. Wines tasted: Humar 2014, La Ginestra 2013 and Zorzon 2014.
- Ribolla Gialla is a nervy wine imparting verticality to the blend. It is a challenging wine to make successfully as a single varietal and is subtle on the nose, blending aromas of white flowers, lemon zest, cedar, vanilla-infused mild spices, hazelnut and Granny Smith apples. Balsamic and mineral aromatics. Wines tasted: Tenuta Borgo Conventi 2014, Castello di Spessa 2014 and Villa Russiz 2013.
- Malvasia Istriana yields powerful, delicious wines with yellow flower aromas of linden, yellow fruits (peach and apricot) and tropical aromas of mango. Notes of fresh herbs and mild spices. Wines tasted: Bracco La Mont-Brach 2013, Muzic 2013 and Livon Soluna 2013.
- Collio Bianco is a white wine for gourmet food whose naturally occurring freshness is counterbalanced by rich, fleshy body. The aromatic spectrum features flowers, almonds and yellow fruits with herbal notes and mineral aromas of flint. Wines tasted: Gradisciutta Bratinis 2013, Collavini Broy 2013 and Bracco La Mont-Brach 2013.
At the end of the tutored tasting, all labels of Pinot Grigio Collio DOC were available for a free-pour tasting.
To find out more about these gourmet food wines from this small but great Italian wine region:
- read the 2015 spring edition of our wine magazine,
- access tasting commentaries from the soon-to-be-released 2016 Guide that is already available online.