Well-known as a restaurateur and hotelier in northern Friuli, Mario Fantinel acquired his first vineyards in the coveted Collio district in 1969. Some 8 years later, in the tiny village of Venco, he added the gorgeous Tenuta Sant’Helena to the equation. Situated some 15 km from Gorizia and perched right on the border with Slovenia, the farm’s 15 to 45-year-old vines benefit from a mild climate (protected by the Julian Alps to the north), 200 meters of altitude, and proximity to the Adriatic Sea. Run by third generation producers Marco, Stefano and Mariaelena, Tenuta Sant’Helena today represents some of the Fantinel family’s best, hand-picked, single estate wines.
Famous throughout Europe for its structured, mineral-driven whites, the Collio DOC in Friuli revolves around its unique soil type, called ponca in the local dialect. This multicolored, marly clay derives from the Eocene epoch (66 to 23 million years ago), when the earth was considerably warmer than today, and an inland sea covered the region. Shell material and high calcium carbonate levels lend Collio’s wines their acidic backbone and (in the case of white varietals) enhance their intriguing tropical nose. To further concentrate these aromatics, all of Tenuta Sant’Helena’s white wines see 2-3 hours of skin contact (except the Sauvignon) and the reds are made following a brief drying (or appassimento) process.
- Alberto Zanello
- Grapes Grown by Winery
- Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Friulano, Merlot, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon Blanc
- Vineyard Size
- 60.0 ha
- Marco Fantinel
- Winemaker Biography
- Together with his siblings, Marco Fantinel took his grandfather’s small winemaking legacy and converted it into an Italian institution. Today, he oversees the Fantinel and Tenuta Sant’Helena estates, with a focus on Friuli's unique terroir and native varietals.
- Winemaker Generation