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PRODUCER

CASTELLO DI BUTTRIO

In Friuli’s Colli Orientali, Alessandra Felluga produces wines which proudly showcase this region of north-eastern Italy. Characterised by intense fruit and acidity, thanks to low yields, and minerality from the rich soil, Castello di Buttrio is best known for its single-variety bottlings of indigenous grapes - white Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, red Refosco and Pignolo. However, it also produces excellent Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as growing Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, for use in the red of the two blends. All are exclusively imported by Armit Wines to the UK…

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Very aromatic yet elegant with distinctive yellow peppers, sage, tropical fruits, peach and melon and wild fennel. This Sauvignon is full-bodied, gracefully contoured and velvety-smooth. Marvellous with crustaceans whether raw or gracing a plate of pasta. Excellent with aromatic spring herb risottos.

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2010 Pignolo, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £29.95

Image of wine Mon Blanc
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Subtle, elegant with floral and fruit-led aromatics. Distinctively fresh-tasting and long-lingering. Thanks to the grapes in the blend, Mon Blanc is a classic with fish, such as whitebait, breaded and fried sardines or anchovies, raw fish and oysters. Racy acidity makes this an excellent aperitif wine. 

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Image of wine Refosco
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2014 Refosco, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £17.00

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Image of wine Friulano
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Well-rounded and full-flavoured thanks to nicely gauged acidity and generous extract. Almondiness underpins the lingering aromatic length. The Tocai Friulano grape makes this wine an unrivalled partner for air-dried prosciutto crudo di San Daniele ham and delicate cured meats such as culatello. A match made in heaven if served with herb omelettes and risottos or egg and asparagus-based dishes. Vegetable soups...

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2013 Refosco, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £16.09

Image of wine Prosecco Frizzante
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Being Frizzante in style, this Prosecco has a lighter, finer mousse which makes it the perfect wine for an aperitive. In the glass you'll find delicious aromas of white stone fruit and golden apple with lively acidity to refresh your palate. A perfect glass of fizz to enjoy on its own or alongside some some canapés. Think fresh figs and...

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Prosecco Frizzante, Biancavigna

Bottle 75cl £10.95

2014 Mon Blanc

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £15.40

Case of 6 £92.40

Image of wine Mon Blanc
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Subtle, elegant with floral and fruit-led aromatics. Distinctively fresh-tasting and long-lingering. Thanks to the grapes in the blend, Mon Blanc is a classic with fish, such as whitebait, breaded and fried sardines or anchovies, raw fish and oysters. Racy acidity makes this an excellent aperitif wine. 

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2013 Mon Rouge

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £15.40

Case of 6 £92.40

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2013 Refosco

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £16.10

Case of 6 £96.54

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2013 Refosco, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £16.09

2015 Ribolla Gialla

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £17.00

Case of 6 £102.00

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2015 Friulano

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £17.00

Case of 6 £102.00

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Well-rounded and full-flavoured thanks to nicely gauged acidity and generous extract. Almondiness underpins the lingering aromatic length. The Tocai Friulano grape makes this wine an unrivalled partner for air-dried prosciutto crudo di San Daniele ham and delicate cured meats such as culatello. A match made in heaven if served with herb omelettes and risottos or egg and asparagus-based dishes. Vegetable soups...

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2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £17.00

Case of 6 £102.00

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Very aromatic yet elegant with distinctive yellow peppers, sage, tropical fruits, peach and melon and wild fennel. This Sauvignon is full-bodied, gracefully contoured and velvety-smooth. Marvellous with crustaceans whether raw or gracing a plate of pasta. Excellent with aromatic spring herb risottos.

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2014 Refosco

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £17.00

Case of 6 £102.00

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2014 Refosco, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £17.00

2010 Pignolo

Castello di Buttrio

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Bottle 75cl £29.96

Case of 6 £179.70

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2010 Pignolo, Castello di Buttrio

Bottle 75cl £29.95

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Like many parts of the country, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is both part of Italy and not. The province is semi-autonomous; in parts, such as the Friuli Colli Orientali, it has its own language; and it has its own grape varieties - Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, Refosco and Verduzo.

Located in the north-east of Italy, between Udine and the Slovenian border, Castello di Buttrio is surrounded by the eastern Friulian hills. Cooled by the Bora wind, these steep foothills of the Julian Alps are made of ponca, a mineral-rich sandstone-calcium marl which used to be seabed. It tends to produce low-yield vines with concentrated fruit and minerality. At least, it does when the terroir is in good hands...

Alessandra Felluga is certainly a great guardian of the Colli Orientali. Scion of a family of Friulian grandees, she is also a fifth-generation winemaker. Her father Marco Felluga acquired Castello di Buttrio in 1994, with Alessandra working alongside him before taking the reins herself in 2007. Armit Wines began exclusively importing Castello di Buttrio’s wines to the UK in 2015.[1]  The estate’s history of viticulture goes back centuries before the Felluga family took over, however. The hill on which the grapes grow is called Pampinutta, derived from pampino (vine leaf). Records from 1429 refer to the lord of the castle giving people gifts of white wine described as “highly aromatic, tasting of rosolio and carnations”. Documents from the 17th century refer to grape varieties such as refosco and ribolla gialla being cultivated, as they are today.

The vital organs of the estate are ancient plots of old-growth vines. These long-planted rows provide the power, balance and structure of Castello di Buttrio wines. Alessandra views tham as “a heritage to safeguard and enhance”. However, a carefully planned programme of expansion has grown the estate to 26 hectares, including the acquisition of the nearby Dorigo vineyards. Although these vines yield a little higher than the ancient plants, they are controlled, naturally, to concentrate flavour. Among the vines, a biodiverse scrub of grasses and wildflowers is allowed to flourish, attracting wildlife which control pests without use of chemicals.

In the winery, hand-selected bunches in small boxes are vinified separately by vineyard to preserve the unique character of each plot, before assemblage achieves what Alessandra calls “a kaleidscope of tones”.

Initially, the Fellugas produced premium red wines, but Castello di Buttrio’s white wines - particularly the indigenous Friulano and Ribolla Gialla - have arguably overtaken them as the flagship wines, especially as they offer such value.

The straw yellow Ribolla Gialla is fresh and dry with mineral and herb notes accompanying a fine acidity that makes it the ideal fish wine - especially with carpaccio of tuna or scallops, but also to complement ceviche or cut through fritto misto. Friulano has intense floral aromas which endure from nose to tail, with ripe fruit and almonds throughout as well - it’s an incredible accompaniment to prosciutto crudo.

Castello di Buttrio does produce single variety wines from non-native grapes too - Chardonnay and Sauvignon. The former is clean and medium-bodied, with orchard fruit and honey notes, while the latter is velvety and full-bodied, with distinctive yellow peppers, sage and wild fennel in addition to tropical fruits, peach and melon.

In addition, there is a playfully named blend of RIbolla Gialla, Malvasia and Friulano which can be served with light fish dishes and omelettes - it’s fresh, floral and fruit-led but with a lively acidity that makes it linger on the palate. In the red blend, Mon Rouge Merlot’s intense fruit and the tannic structure of Cabernet Sauvignon provide the rhythm section. But the soaring guitar solos are the work of a Friulian grape, Refosco - offering layers and depth of dark berry fruit while also reaching the spicy high notes.

Refosco is also available in a single variety wine, with aromatic spice notes such as cardamom, along with bramble leaf, blackberry and even earthy root aromas. This deep ruby wine is fresh and vibrant and works as well with cheese and dried meats as it does with hearty casseroles. Finally, there is Pignolo - possibly Castello di Buttrio’s most interesting wine. This grape variety is notable for its colour: deep purple. And, like the band of the same name, while its first impression is of muscular power, it actually has more subtlety and finesse than that. A cornucopia of fruit is measured out over the palate rather than tumbling out all at once, while cameos of vanilla, spices and herbs are given their moments, thanks to the elegant structure. Still, it certainly stands its ground when challenged with roasted and grilled meats.

The Felluga family has not only maintained and improved the vineyards of Castello di Buttrio, but have built a wonderful destination winery, with a hotel de charme, agriturismo and locanda, where a great food and wine pairing is guaranteed. As is the future of Castello di Buttrio, given that Alessandra Felluga’s three daughters - Maria Vittoria, Michela and Maria Eugenia Bianconi - all work for the winemaker. In fact, Mon Blanc and Mon Rouge were their creation. With degrees in economics, history and oenology between them, they are ideally placed to take the label forward while never forgetting the heritage of Friuli.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7908 0655 web@armitwines.co.uk

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