The story of the Villa Russiz estate is one of penetrating intuition and generosity, enthusiasm, commitment, emotion and tradition. The intuition belonged to the French Count, Theodore de La Tour, who in 1869 realised that the sun-drenched hills of the Collio would be a very agreeable place to take up residence with his Austrian wife, Elvine Ritter von Zahony. Above all, they would be the ideal setting for him to pursue his passion for viticulture, and for the modern winemaking techniques that were being developed so successfully in the France of the day. Theodore de La Tour was the first to perceive the potential that has made Collio wines respected all over the world. He appreciated its extraordinary mesoclimate, whose virtues derive from the beneficial encounter of cool winds from the Julian Alps with sea breezes from the nearby Adriatic. The two winds meet here, on the superbly aspected hillsides of Capriva del Friuli, which temper the effects of both. De La Tour created the property that would subsequently become the Villa Russiz estate. He brought in new varieties that were more appropriate for the territory and for the pursuit of quality. He built a stunning, high-vaulted cellar completely underground. Most important, he lavished constant attention on every detail, from vineyard, to cellar and bottle. Villa Russiz was, and remains today, a symbol of generosity and passionate commitment. After the death of her husband in 1894, Elvine Ritter showed that she, too, had her husband’s dedication, until she was overhelmed by the events of the First World War and decided to give up the estate. Later, the generosity of a noblewoman, Adele Cerruti, found a pratical application at the estate in an institute for children, which is still active today. Villa Russiz became a charity organisation, a not-for-profit enterprise. The Count’s meticulous passion for the cultivation of the vine is still very much alive on the 94 hectares of the Villa Russiz estate. There are 40 hectars under vine and planting density is kept between 4500 and 7000 vines per hectare, to ensure wines of outstanding concentration. The wines at Villa Russiz all come under the Collio Doc. So, too, do the three vineyard selections, Sauvignon de La Tour, Gräfin de La Tour and Graf de La Tour, the flagship wines of a range that takes the best of the past as its inspiration in the very modern search for superlative quality, for a coherent way forward, and for great wines as good as any in the world.
Villa Russiz Collio Friulano is pale straw with greenish tints. Strong and round taste, with a characteristic note of bitter almonds, chamomile and wildflowers. Perfect with Prosciutto di S. Daniele, splendid with vegetables, particularly in spring: asparagus, nettles, hops, and campion, in a risotto or open-faced omelette. Also goes very well with crustaceans such as mantis shrimp, shrimp, scampi and lobster, having sufficient mineral content to underline their flavor.