A wine tasting starts with the eyes – a look at the bottle label or the name on a restaurant’s wine list. A look at the name and label of a Colliano wine may lead you to incorrectly guess the wines are from Italy.
You’re right to think that Colliano could be Italian. The grapes are grown a stone’s throw away from the northeastern border, in Slovenia. These neighboring wine regions – Collio in Italy and Goriška Brda in Slovenia – grow the same grape varieties and have a similar Mediterranean climate, as well as the low rounded hills that give the regions their names. “Colli” and “brda” are the Italian and Slovenian words for hills.
Now that the region has been demystified, you’ll find that the wines of Colliano are just as approachable. Made from mostly familiar grape varieties, the two whites and a red are easy to drink and food-friendly.
The 2011 Colliano Ribolla Gialla is made entirely from Ribolla Gialla (also called Rebula), a white wine grape that is indigenous to this border region. Its taste and acidity will appeal to fans of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, with flavors similar to a dry Riesling adding complexity. The palate is a mix of lemon, grapefruit, white peach and orange peel, with a hint of vanilla and cedar. The finish is crisp and dry, with lingering notes of unsweetened wildflower honey. Pair the Colliano Ribolla Gialla with salads, white fish or shellfish.
The 2011 Colliano Cuvee White is a blend of 40% Ribolla Gialla, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Sauvignonasse (a white wine grape that despite the name, is not related to Sauvignon Blanc). The flavors of the Ribolla Gialla are balanced out nicely by the round Chardonnay, with Sauvignonasse adding acidity. The wine has notes of Meyer lemon, white apricot, golden apple and white flowers. Malolactic fermentation and oak aging give the wine added finesse and a creamy yet supple mouthfeel. Pair the Colliano Cuvee white with grilled white meats, fish, pastas or cream-based dishes.
The 2011 Colliano Cuvee Red is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend with the freshness of a New World wine. Flavors of cherry, plum and red currant are layered with violet and subtle cedar. Acidity from the Cabernet Franc adds texture and structure. This is a wine to enjoy with food – pair the 2011 Colliano Cuvee Red with grilled steaks, roasted chicken, game meat or semi mature cheese.
As an added bonus, these Slovenian wines are wallet-friendly, costing approximately $15 a bottle.
Enjoyable to sip, great with food and a price tag of less than $20, Colliano wines from Slovenia are ready for the spotlight.
All wines are 13% alcohol by volume