Another wine with a story Villa Russiz is a charitable winemaker, not for profit, who ploughs any profits straight back into the local region and specifically to needy kids in the area. This is no “charity album” wine, Villa Russiz is headed up by top winemaker Gianni Menotti and the wines are of award winning quality. In fact Villa Russiz has risen to become one of Friuli’s top producers.
Villa Russiz Merlot, and to be spot on, Villa Russiz Merlot Graf de la Tour, is the 7th Merlot of Merlot Month and the 2nd in the Friuli flight.
Another recommendation from Mr Galloni and at one of the lowest price points of the 10 Merlot offerings I was keen to see what this was all about. The 2004 vintage in the Friuli region was superb, as it was across the majority of Italy and so this could be a very good value for money Merlot indeed.
A tre bicchiere effort according to the Gambero Rosso guide, a 90 point Antonio Galloni rating for the 2003, I was raring to go with the Villa Russiz Merlot and boy o boy, is this a step up from the Radikon.
The Merlot itself is the top bottling of Villa Russiz, aged 24-months in French oak barriques, and with a tricky cabernet–esque nose, plenty of graphite and cedar box. Very alcoholic at nearly 15% and with a tiny production of just 8000 bottles, this Merlot could soon become something of a collectors piece as well as a superbly priced bottle for weekend drinking. This is the joker in the pack of Merlots so far, interesting, great QPR, laying down potential, this is a real find. Of all the wines so far, only this and the Montiano deserve a recommendation for case buying.
Villa Russiz Merlot Graf de la Tour 2004 – BUY – €32
Dark purple in colour with a refined and generous bouquet of graphite, cedar box, cherries, vanilla, raisins and plums. Full bodied with chocolate and plum flavours coming through on the palate, concentrated and still tannic but that should ebb away. Mouth filling and big, yet elegant with some acidity but good balance. Enjoyable. 92 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans – Italian Wine Shop – €32
Americans – Winerz – $62
Brits – Ravi’s Wines – £32
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