Many times, I have mentioned that when you travel around WineWorld you come to meet really nice people. You have the chance to meet them in their daily life, in their work, and most of the time they give the best out of themselves. Last year I had the opportunity of visiting one of the biggest family-owned wineries in FriuliVenezia Giulia. The Felluga family owns two estates located in the very heart of the Collio area: Marco Felluga in Gradisca d’Isonzo (where they own or control 100 hectares of vineyards) and Russiz Superiore in Capriva del Friuli (where the estate includes 100 hectares, 50 of which are dedicated to vineyards and they also have established a Relais). I wrote an article about them and then an interview with Marco’s son Roberto, who is now in charge of the winemaking process in both estates and he is also managing the company.

In the second half of the 19th Century, the Felluga family started producing wine as a side business for their small hotel located in Istria headed by Giovanni Felluga. Then his son Marco was the one who decided to focus on wine production and moved the family to Grado, from where Marco’s son Giovanni took them to Friuli and to the Collio region, which was one of the first areas in Italy to receive the DOC title in 1964.

The fourth generation of the Felluga family producing wine is Marco, who continued with the company in 1956 until he passed the reins to his son Roberto. Marco recently turned 90 and for this reason, the family organized a big party in the Russiz Superiore estate.

The event was simply fabulous. The road leading to the estate was illuminated by candlelight and a sax player was welcoming us. Once there, you checked in at the front desk to know where you were seated for the dinner. There were at least 12 tables, so you can imagine the number of guests was high. Then the photocall with Marco and Roberto. The main hall of the winery was packed with people being served Marco Felluga Blanc de Blancs, a sparkling wine produced with Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Another choice was the Russiz Superiore Pinot Bianco 2016. Small portions of food were served at the same time.

Dinner time. It was served in the ageing room of the cellar, where a good number of oak barrels were in the center of the room while the circumvallating corridor was occupied by the dinner tables, each one named after one of their wines. Also in the middle, a piano player collaborated with the aforementioned sax player and together they made the evening so much enjoyable.

Each of the plates in the menu was provided by different local restaurants and matched with different wine. I won’t go into the food pairing, I just will say the food was very, very good and tasty. The chosen wines were the Marco Felluga Sauvignon with the starters. Then two wonderful wines came around: Russiz Superiore Col Disôre 2005, produced with Pinot BiancoTocai Friulano, SauvignonRibolla Gialla, and the amazing Russiz Superiore Rosso Riserva Degli Orzoni 2001, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. My nose was stuck inside the glass of the Col Disôre. Such a wonderful wine. And the Rosso was amazing as I said. Two great wines coming from two really good vintages.

At this moment, it was the time for the presents to Marco. The first one was a wonderful book, Marco Felluga Russiz Superiore UNA STORIA DI INTUIZIONI, about his life and his life passion for wine presented by its author Walter Filiputti. Then son Roberto presented Collio Bianco Gran Selezione 50/90, a special wine produced for the occasion. Its label refers to Marco’s 90 years of age and the 50 years the Felluga family has devoted to the Russiz Superiore area. It was also presented to the guests and it will see the light with the 2018 vintage.

The mayor of Capriva del Friuli presented Marco with the title of honorary citizen of the town. Then some speeches from family members and Marco himself. It was then time for the anniversary cake, and it was accompanied by the dessert wine Russiz Superiore Horus, produced with Picolit, Sauvignon and Tocai Friulano.

It was an honor to be part of this celebration with the Felluga family and their friends. The event was really nice, the food and the wines were fantastic but that was not the important thing but the chance to share the 90th anniversary of one of the leading contributing men to the wine industry and history of the Friuli.

Tanti auguri, caro Marco!!

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