A White for the Cellar (or Now)
I was just visiting an importer's office for an appointment to taste through a bunch of different things and it was just my luck (no sarcasm) that a producer from Italy who I was unfamiliar with was there to taste the staff on his wines.
That producer is Zuani, who makes white wines in the famous Collio zone of Friuli and Antonio Felluga, son of proprietor Patrizia, ran me through a unique vertical of the only two wines they make.
The Vigne Zuani is their main wine (their other wine is a Riserva bottling called Zuani Zuani that is raised in oak, but I much prefer this one) and is a blend of all four of the major white grapes that Friuli is famous for - Pinot Grigio, Chardonny, Sauvignon and Ribolla Gialla - done entirely in stainless steel.
Like many of the great Friulian white blends, it walks that fine line between freshness and richness with great agility.
The current vintage on offer, and the one I'm selling today, is the 2016 and it is very nice indeed.
Each grape in the blend adds its unique elements to the wine -- the chardonay brings roundness and weight, the ribolla adds savory and textural elements, the pinot grigio lends freshness and aromatics and the sauvignon offers the crisp/mineral/floral qualities.
The whole things comes together wonderfully and the 2016 vintage, with its clarity and structure, only takes it to a new level.
Antonio also had five previous vintages open ('14, '12, '11, '10 and '07) to display just how nicely the wine ages.
As we progressed backwards it was really cool to observe how the fresh, lively elements eventually give way to more firm minerality with that fantastic cheese-like nuance that great Italian whites can show. When we got the to the 2007, the wine was completely different...it was part older dry riesling and part aged white Burgundy.
Keep in mind that we're talking about something that sells for $24 on the shelf.
And, even at ten years of age, I'd have been happy laying the 2007 down for even longer...and this is from a really warm, ripe vintage that wasn't know for its structure, especially in the whites.
I thought the 2016 was fantastic, but when I asked Antonio what he thought about the vintage he said, 'It might be our best ever.'
If you like your whites fresh, but substantial, you can drink it now.
If you like them mineral and complex, you can drink it in 3-5 years.
If you like the very developed, nutty, creamy, savory nuance that the finest whites from Italy can develop, drink it in 10+.
It's probably best to just get a bunch and drink it over the course of 10 years...but I'll leave that up to you...
There is good availability of this wine, so I'm taking orders and will have it here in the shop by Thursday afternoon.
ZUANI Bianco 'Vigne Zuani' 2016
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street
MCF Rare Wine Ltd.