Tenuta Sant'Helena

Friuli-Venezia Giulia - Italy

The Winery

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.

Enologist
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
Winemaker
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
3rd
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Cabernet Sauvignon Trevenezie IGT

Bold and international in style, this signature wine from Tenuta Sant’Helena speaks directly to Marco Fantinel’s point of view. Intense and refined, it spends a year and a half in a combination of French Allier barriques and larger Slavonian barrels. Notably, a portion of the grapes are dried, appassimento-style, helping to round out the tannins and elevate the fruit.

Color
Bright ruby red
Nose
Dark plum, forest floor and spice
Palate
Medium-full bodied, with discernible oak
Vineyard Location
Trevenezie IGT, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Gravelly
Maturation Summary
In 30-60 hl Allier and Slavonian oak barrels for 18 months and bottled for 6 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.5 g/liter
Residual Sugar
4.4 g/liter
Annual Production
19,992 bottles

Friuliano Collio DOC

With snow-capped peaks in the distance and a view of the Slovenian border, Tenuta Sant’Helena sits in the verdant, sub-alpine hills of Friuli. Contributing to the Collio region’s white winemaking fame, the indigenous Friulano provides a lush mouthfeel along with layers of fruit and minerality. Tenuta Sant’Helena’s take on this local favorite is unoaked and fresh, with loads of lemon-lime citrus and hints of pithy tropical fruits. 30 year-old vines on average also ensure a well-rounded, balanced experience.

Color
Straw-yellow
Nose
White blossoms and citrus
Palate
Rich stone fruit and soft layers of minerality
Finish
Dry, almond-pear finish
Vineyard Location
Collio DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Friulano
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 0 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.2 g/liter
Residual Sugar
2 g/liter
Annual Production
240,000 bottles

Frontiere Bianco Collio DOC

Winemaker Marco Fantinel is deeply passionate about the autochthonous varietals of his native Friuli. Located in the heart of Collio, Tenuta Sant’ Helena produces traditional, single estate wines of structure and finesse. Their “Frontiere” (frontier) Bianco is a visceral blend of Friulano, Pinot Bianco, and Chardonnay, offering lively acidity and layers of warm citrus. The Friulano provides mouthfeel and length; the Pinot Bianco, acidity; and the Chardonnay, depth and body. A real beauty.

Color
Straw-yellow with gold undertones
Nose
Stone fruit, mango, and vanilla
Palate
Medium-bodied, with layers of fresh fruit and mineral spice
Finish
Long and rich, with rounded tannins
Vineyard Location
Collio DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
50% Tocai Friulano
30% Pinot Bianco
20% Chardonnay
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 0 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.4 g/liter
Residual Sugar
2 g/liter
Annual Production
12,996 bottles

Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Trevenezie IGT

While the Refosco grape from Friuli can be bracing at times, with its pronounced, iron-driven acidity, here Tenuta Sant’Helena has tamed the wild beast. By aging in oak barrels for 18 months, and drying 20% of the grapes (appassimento style), they have rounded out all the edges and created something savory, full-bodied, and truly approachable. Rich notes of cherry and tobacco intermingle with soft, full tannins, creating a lush, even decadent, experience.

Color
Garnet red
Nose
Tangy red fruit with tarry elements
Palate
Full-bodied, with rounded tannins
Finish
Balanced, long, satisfying finish
Vineyard Location
Trevenezie IGT, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Gravelly
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 6 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.7 g/liter
Residual Sugar
3.3 g/liter
Annual Production
300,000 bottles

Ribolla Gialla Venezia Giulia IGT

With snow-capped Alps on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other, Tenuta Sant’Helena sits in a pitch-perfect zone for mineral-driven whites like Ribolla Gialla. Thanks in part to the calcareous ponca soils, this grape exhibits high acidity, lending it a respectable 3-4 year shelf life. Likewise, proximity to the sea lends it a fascinating salinity, making it the ideal companion for all manner of frutti di mare.

Color
Straw-yellow
Nose
Ocean-air minerality, with lemon oil and zest
Palate
Medium-bodied, with just hint of tannin
Finish
Long, satisfying finish
Vineyard Location
Venezia Giulia IGT, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Ribolla Gialla
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 0 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.7 g/liter
Residual Sugar
2 g/liter
Annual Production
240,000 bottles

Sauvignon Collio DOC

The result of meticulous clonal selections, Tenuta Sant’Helena’s Sauvignon hails from the Collio DOC in Friuli, famous for its elegant, structured whites. This limited production, single estate wine offers up intriguing elements of plantain, gooseberry, and yellow bell pepper. Softer in its acidity than many other Sauvignons, it’s the perfect compliment to rich seafood, mushroom risotto, and soft, mountain cheeses.

Color
Straw-yellow with greenish undertones
Nose
Tomato leaf, yellow bell pepper, peach and melon
Palate
Structured and smooth, with gooseberry and tangible minerality
Finish
Crisp and bright
Vineyard Location
Collio DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Sauvignon
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 0 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
6.9 g/liter
Residual Sugar
2 g/liter
Annual Production
19,992 bottles

Pinot Grigio Collio DOC

A classic Pinot Grigio from Friuli’s higher altitudes, Tenuta Sant’Helena’s signature white provides plenty of tantalizing citrus, including subtle layers of lime zest and lemon tea. It is medium bodied, yet crisp and unoaked, with additional hints of honeydew and crunchy green apple. Thanks to 30-year old vines and the calcareous ponca soils in Collio, the wine also exhibits a stony minerality. In sum, it’s everything Pinot Grigio should be!

Color
Pale straw-yellow
Nose
Classic citrus and minerality, with hints of quince and blossom
Palate
Medium-bodied, yet crisp and unoaked
Finish
Medium+ finish
Vineyard Location
Collio DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
100% Pinot Grigio
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
Bottled for 0 months
Alcohol
13.0 %
Acidity
5.5 g/liter
Residual Sugar
2 g/liter
Annual Production
72,000 bottles

Venko Rosso Collio DOC

One of the top expressions of this terroir-centric estate, Tenua Sant’ Helena’s “Venko” Rosso (named for the zone the vines are located in) is a wine for those who generally prefer structured, elegant reds. The color is gorgeous - ruby red with garnet tinges - while the bouquet hints at wild berries and vanilla. A splendid assemblage of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir, it’s aged in oak for 30 months. Its body is smooth and granular, with a clean, lingering finish.

Color
Dark ruby red
Nose
Dark cherry and plum, red licorice, bramble and earth
Palate
Full-bodied, with round tannins and stewed blueberry fruit
Finish
Excellent balance and smooth long finish
Vineyard Location
Collio DOC, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Vineyard Size
50 ha
Varietals List
50% Merlot
40% Cabernet
10% Pinot Noir
Farming Practices
Sustainably farmed including dry-farmed, no manmade pesticides or fertizers; grapes picked by hand
Elevation
100 m
Soils
Marly of eocenic origin
Maturation Summary
In 30 hl Allier and Slovenian oak barrels for 30 months and bottled for 6 months
Alcohol
13.5 %
Acidity
5.8 g/liter
Residual Sugar
3 g/liter
Annual Production
12,000 bottles