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Durin Pornassio Ormeasco 2009

Ormeasco is said to be the same grape as Dolcetto of Piedmont. I grabbed this wine on the way out the door to a casual dinner with my wife. Pleasantly surprised, it was bright, fun, food-friendly…at a cool cellar temperature was perfect with local ethnic food. Compared to more serious Dolcetto from Piedmont, this was much brighter, simpler and elegant…all red fruit and delicious. I’ve been looking more and more to Liguria recently for interesting finds.

The recently established (2003) Pornassio DOC covers the entirety of Liguria. Durin Pornassio Ormeasco comes from the backdrop hills of Ortovero, a town half way between Sanremo and Savona.

I’ve tasted this wine on numerous occasions and his has just grown on me. It is a great example of a Collio white blend, something the Collio has built its reputation on. There are certainly other white blends in Italy but not at the quality level of what is found in the Collio. One of the pioneering wines of this style and still a benchmark today is Vintage Tunina from Jermann. This is a fantastic wine but at 2-3x’s the cost of the Zuani Vigne, it is a wine of more limited use in a less than formal restaurant.

Antonio, Caterina and Patrizia Felluga

Zuani makes just two wines, Zuani Vigne and Zuani Zuani, both Collio Bianco white blends. Zuani Zuani has riper fruit, sees new oak and lees stirring, more of a meditation wine.

The Zuani Vigne on the other hand is much more versatile and suitable to the the restaurant, being fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel to preserve the freshness and the bright fruit of the wine. The wine is produced from Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio from vines 15-30 years old grown on medium to steep slopes of marl and sandstone. Each variety is vinified separately. This is a white where there is some cold maceration on this skins prior to fermentation. Maturation takes place in stainless steel tanks.

The 2010 Vigne displays incredible balance with just the right amount of richness coupled with balanced acidity that makes this wine so intriguing and versatile. Grapefruit, lemon, lime and white peach dominate the nose and palate with a touch of honey, white pepper and flint. An undertone of minerality supports the wine through a long persistent finish. Great quality. Others who tasted with me found some riper fruit notes such as yellow peach and guava

The wine is a great pairing with most antipasti and with its richness but balanced acidity it can work with most dishes really. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it with pork sugo pasta.

Zuani is the kind of grower we like, producing just under 4,000 cases a year…small, artisanal and family run. Patrizia Felluga, from the famed Felluga family, owns and runs this estate with her son Antonio and daughter Caterina.

Others on Zuani Collio Bianco Vigne 2010: Tom Hyland, a prolific writer on Italian wines, lists ’10 Vigne amongst his favorites on a recent trip to the Collio. The Italian Sommeliers Association’s most recent guide, Duemilavino 2012, gives Vigne their highest award, 5 Grappoli.