Venica is one of the names to know when it comes to the wines of Collio, in northeastern Italy. On the Slovenian border, between the Julian Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Friuli is well-known for excellent white wines from grapes such as Friulano and even Sauvignon Blanc, but reds, especially those made from Merlot, can be incredibly delicious and complex. Venica’s vineyards cover an area of 40 hectares and are located on different hills in the Collio region, each one of which has its own particular microclimate. The soils of the Collio region, known as ponca (aka flysch), are rocky, composed of marl and sandstone.
The 2019 Venica Merlot is one of two wines made from this variety at the Venice estate. This, the “everyday” version, is left for a shorter period of times on its skin than the other Merlot and is aged for a shorter period of time in older, large oak barrels. This is a perfect example of Collio Merlot, plummy and fruity, yet distinctly Italian, with spice and herbs on the nose. It is medium bodied, soft yet plush, with juicy fruit and hints of cocoa on the finish. If you are like many others with a preconceived notion about what Merlot tastes like, this is a must-try.
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