In Italy, landscapes can mesmerize anyone passing through the boot-shaped country from north until the southern tip. Different regions have different charming sceneries. Driving through the less trodden roads of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, you are rewarded with a scenic view of the countryside and as you reach the DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli area , it becomes more picturesque. It is like going through a travel picture you happen to see in a travel guide. Being an important wine area, the view is a patchwork of different shades of green draped softly on hills. Straight rows of vines and manicured grass on soft hills with a light gray road curving its way in the middle of the patchworks. While the sky remains bright blue, I can’t convey in stronger words how beautiful the view is. At a certain point, almost close to the border of Slovenia, I had to ask my husband to stop the car on the side of the road and enjoy the panorama 360 degrees around us. That is Colli Orientali del Friuli.
Colli Orientali del Friuli is a Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, an Italian region in the northern part of the country that shares the border with Slovenia. It produces great wines just like the other seven DOC areas in the region. And like every terroir, nature conveys its richness in the wines that are produced in the unique patches of land.
Colli di Poianis is a winery owned by the Marinig family in the town of Prepotto where its vineyards spread in the hilly area of Colli Orientali del Friuli. It lies on a 25-hectare land in which 11 hectares are allocated to grape vines. The microclimate and Eocene marlstone and sandstone soil make ideal conditions for growing the grapes. For the whites there are Ribolla Gialla, Chardonnay, Friulano, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Malvasia and for the red varieties there are Refosco del Peduncolo Rosso, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Schioppettino.
Schioppettino is a red Italian grape variety that is believed to have originated between the town of Prepotto and the Slovenian border and it is predominantly grown in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The grape was almost lost in extinction in the late 19th-century when vineyard owners decided to plant French varieties in favor of the Schioppettino. However, in 1978, a European Union decree encouraged its replanting and with the remaining vines, it started to thrive again. At the moment, there are 27 companies producing Schioppettino wines in the area.
In 1991, Colli di Poianis won the prestigious Risit d’Aur award for having the first new vineyards of the autochthonous Schioppettino.
After hearing the family histories, how old tradition meets new technology and the love for every single facet of wine making, however herculean the tasks may be, it is in the opening of the bottles and tasting the wine when you understand most about the people, terroir and the work behind the wine. Maura Ceschia, Gabriele Marinig’s wife opened a lot of doors of her land when we spent a portion of the afternoon tasting the wines and listening to her flowing knowledge of everything under the Colli Orientalli del Friuli sun.
We started with the Friulano, a straw-yellow colored fresh white wine with notes of flowers and apples. It is usually served as an aperitif in Friuli that pairs well with cold cuts, fresh cheese, pasta and risotto dishes.
The straw-yellow colored Malvasia has notes of bouquet that’s reminiscent of apricots and peaches. It’s good for aperitif and pairs well light appetizers, vegetable-based pasta dishes and soups.
The Sauvignon has notes of sage and mint, has good acidity and structure. It is perfect for aperitif and pairs well with vegetable soups and herb risotto dishes.
The Schioppettino di Prepotto has an intense ruby red color with good structure. It has aromas of berries and spices in particular green pepper. This wine pairs well with red meat, game meat and medium-aged cheese.
Rosso Ronco della Poiana is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc that has an intense ruby red color. It is full-bodied with notes cherries, berries, spices and chocolate. It pairs well with grilled red meat, poultry and aged cheese.
Aside from the vineyards and the winery, the estate also has a renovated old farm house where 3 apartments with kitchenettes and a guest room are housed.
The apartments are located on the second floor, sharing a large terrace which has a splendid view of the vineyards whereas the guest room has a terrace on the ground floor.
Here you can get a full immersion of Colli di Poianis and the surrounding areas where you can experience tranquility, an amazing view and a taste of the outstanding local gastronomy because in the mornings, Maura prepares an elaborate savory and sweet breakfast spread. She makes sure that her guests try the artisan regional products and she also makes the cakes, fresh fruit salad and fruit juices on her own.