Patrizia Felluga is wine royalty. The matriarch of a wine dynasty that began in the late 1800s, she is a fifth generation winemaker who decided not to wait around to take over dad’s operation (Marco Felluga), but rather struck out on her own in 2001 to start her own label. Zuani is that wine. Felluga works a 30-acre vineyard in the Collio zone of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy and makes — believe it or not — one wine, a white blend of Fruilano, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Felluga came to San Francisco to present a very rare vertical presentation of her white wines — four regular bottlings and two reserves. The difference: They’re the same wine, but the reserves are aged in barriques for 8 to 9 months. The standard Zuani bottling sees only steel.
I wasn’t familiar with Zuani before this tasting, which included a lunch at SF’s Waterbar, but I’m certainly a fan now. Thoughts on the wines tasted follow.
Tasting Report: Zuani Vertical, 2009-2012
2012 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco / B+ / just bottled; fresh apples and lemons on the nose; substantial floral notes; brisk and summery
2011 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco / A- / milder, more honey, less aromatic but easier in structure; more creaminess, well balanced – my favorite wine of the group
2010 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco / A- / distinctly tropical and peachy, like the 2011 it is chewier, with a touch of butter
2009 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco / B+ / some green notes, a clear connection to the 2012 bottling; tart; some honey and vanilla on the finish
2011 Zuani Riserva Collio Bianco / B / pre-release bottling; a much different experience; Chardonnay-like on the nose, but the body is tighter; green with some bittersweet character that dulls the freshness you get with the Vigne bottlings; needs time
2010 Zuani Riserva Collio Bianco / B+ / some of the bigger vanilla notes have faded, leaving more herbal character behind; better balance