Fantinel Tenuta Sant'Helena Friulano 2014
Fantinel was founded in 1969, when restaurateur and hotelier, Paron Mario Fantinel, acquired his first vineyards in the Collio area of northern Friuli. With now the third generation represented by Marco, Stefano, and Mariaelena, what started as a small agricultural company has become an internationally prestigious winery and ambassador of Friulian wine-making throughout the world. The philosophy of Fantinel is to employ passion, tradition, and innovation through a close bond with the origins and ancestral wisdom of Friuli, producing wines that embrace excellence and offer real emotions that convey the authenticity of the land.
Fantinel comprises a stunning lineup: beautiful sparkling wines, Borgo Tesis, the distinct estate of Tenuta Sant’Helena, and the crown jewel La Roncaia. Gaining success in over 90 countries at top-level, prestigious restaurants and specialized shops, Fantinel’s rapidly growing success is confirmed by remarkable reviews received by international press.
With over 300 hectares of vineyards divided into the renowned DOC Grave, Prosecco, and Collio zones, these unique terroirs and privileged areas with microclimates are ideal for the best maturation of the fruits and the highest expression of each vine variety, especially the valuable indigenous grapes. In addition, the Fantinel concept of wine-making includes the investments in cutting-edge technological solutions bolstering production with an environmentally sustainable approach — from the revolutionary fertilisation-irrigation system and the clonal selections in laboratory, to the advanced system of thermoregulation of steel tanks and the immense propriety of precious wood barrels. Fantinel’s “a-viticulture” features vines that grow according to natural rhythms, on the basis of the respect of the plant vegetative cycle and balance, giving birth to rich fruits and, naturally, to majestic wines.
Thriving in the NE Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia near the border of Slovenia, Friulano makes a uniquely high-pitched and vibrant white with a delicate perfume. Extensive in the area by the early 1930s, today Friulano grows in all of the best zones and is usually, but not always, bottled as a single-varietal wine. Somm Secret— The Friulano grown today, while named for its present home of Friuli, is actually the Sauvignonasse grape, a minor cultivar that came from Bordeaux.
The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The styles of wines produced in this region of Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. The flat valley of Friuli Grave is responsible for a large proportion of the region’s wine production, particularly the approachable Pinot grigio and the popular Prosecco. The best vineyard locations are often on hillsides, as in Colli Orientali del Friuli or Collio. In general, Friuli boasts an ideal climate for viticulture, with warm sunny days and chilly nights, which allow grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.
In Colli Orientali, the specialty is crisp, flavorful white wine made from indigenous varieities like Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Ribolla gialla and Malvasia Istriana.
Red wines, though far less common here, can be quite good, especially when made from the deeply colored, rustic Refosco variety. In Collio Goriziano, which abutts Slovenia, many of the same varieties are planted. International varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are also common, but they tend to be Loire-like in style with herbaceous character and mellow tannins. Carso’s star grape is the red Teranno, notable for being rich in iron content and historically consumed for health purposes. It has an earthy, meaty profile and is often confused with the distinct variety Refosco.