Marco Felluga, one of the most respected vintners in Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, has started to produce red wine at his Tuscan estate, La Poggiona, in the Chianti Classico area.
Felluga, 72, a fourth-generation vintner, runs three well-established family estates in northeastern Italy: Castel Buttrio, in the eastern hills of Friuli; Russiz Superiore in Capriva del Friuli, in the Collio DOC region; and his headquarters, Felluga, in Gorizia, also in the Collio hills.
"By tradition, we mainly produce white wines in Friuli," said Felluga. "However, with the increase in demand for red wine, we thought it would be a good idea to use our Tuscan estate, which is fully equipped with a winery, to add to our selection of reds."
Felluga bought the 100-acre La Poggiona estate, in San Casciano Val di Pesa, in 1994 and has been selling olive oil from the property since then. In 1994 and 1995, he planted 30 acres of vines at La Poggiona; Sangiovese makes up 80 percent of the vineyard, while Merlot and Cabernet comprise 10 percent each. Felluga plans to make a high-quality Indicazione Geografica Tipica or "super Tuscan" wine that is a blend of 60 percent to 70 percent Sangiovese with Merlot and Cabernet.
The first vintage, 1998, should be available in the United States in spring 2001. Felluga is aiming at an initial production of about 7,000 cases annually, of which half is intended for the American market. He is still deciding on a name and a price for the wine.
Felluga admits he has a soft spot for Tuscany. "If I had to move from Friuli, it would certainly be to Tuscany, where I goes almost every weekend," he said. "I just love it there."
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