Friuli, Italy, $148, cork seal
This bottle came from Castello del Vino in Central, but it also come from the Collio Goriziano DOC in Italy's far west. Part of the Friuli-Gorizia region, Collio - which apparently translates as hills - is one of Italy's oldest DOCs. The area is famed for its whites, but also makes reds from the very un-Italian varietals of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
This is a lovely deep garnet red colour. It smells of sweet dark fruits - blackberry, boysenberry and cherry, though it also has a dry chalky aroma that always reminds me a little of dusty old dried oregano. The palate is still bright and lively; it's packed with vibrant red fruit - berries and cherries - and has a hint of sweetness that is balanced by a refreshing acidity. It's big and charismatic with impressive weight, good length and integrated tannins. Marco Felluga Collio Merlot 1999 is a good wine that's come together nicely and is probably drinking at its peak right about now.
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