We were a few days into lengthy seminars and events at Barolo's Collisioni Festival last month, and on the day I met the couple in this pic, the mercury kept rising, fast and furious. It was so hot; sweltering, even. When sitting through the seventh hour of daily wine seminars, and the 43rd-odd wine of the day is being presented - it can be a challenge for winery proprietors to keep an audience engaged.
Yeah, the room was full of some of the best sommeliers, retailers, and media from around the world; we do this for a living, and due diligence is both required and expected. At the same time we're human, we get tired, we get distracted; it happens.
So. When this does happen, it always goes a long way when the proprietor of a winery or a winemaker presenting does so with ENERGY, and keeps things bright with key info we want to know, not droning on too much about minutia, and - well - it helps when the wines they're presenting are good, too.
Enter Daniele Lenuzza and Tanika Paris-Lenuzza of Vigna Lenuzza in Italy's DOC Friuli Colli Orientali (kinda upper-hamstring of the boot of Italy). "Like a breath of fresh air," they say, and that they were. They were excited about what they were sharing, it showed, and it was contagious. Not to be ageist, but they had a palpable youthful energy about them, and I can assure that it was very welcome in our hot and sunny room.
The property has been in Daniele's family for three generations, though he and Tanika have taken the reins in recent years, since a short time after they met in her native South Africa while he'd studying winemaking down there. Their passion for honest, authentic wine equals their obvious adoration for each other; there's an clear mutual giddiness and admiration they carry, even when chatting to a room full of global wine professionals about their wines.
And, OH, their wines!
They are hands-off wines of place. I'm afraid to say minimal intervention, because I don't want Natural Wine Haters to get all scaredy-pants about 'em. They've just received their organic certification, and they indeed employ native yeast fermentation, use minimal preservative sulfur, yadda, yadda, yadda...
The wines are sound and consistent, though; fresh and bright, as well. This includes their pitch-perfect Schioppettino, a recently resurrected red indigenous variety that's medium-bodied, harbouring plenty of violets, rose petals, plums, and pepper.
On the white side, their Ribolla Giallas and Friulanos are floral, fruity and nutty in their respective, charming ways; fresh-as-a-daisy and calling for fish on the table.
While I'm currently crushed their wines aren't available in my home market here in Vancouver, you can bet I'm mentioning them to a handful of local importers and keeping my eyes wide open for them when travelling abroad.
If this is the first, it won't be the last you hear of them. Like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram, and do opt for any sips which may come your way...