Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Trio Of Italian Sauvignon Blancs

A recent online wine tasting experience introduced participants to Italian Sauvignon Blanc.  Probably more noted from France, California or New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape which can produce a wide variation of styles, even within northern Italy's wine regions.

Tiare Collio DOC Sauvignon 2019

For his Tiare winery, Roberto Snidarcig creates white wines under the Collio labeling and reds from the Isonzo DOC.  Collio's marl is better fitted for whites than the gravelly soil of Isonzo.  

This 2019 Tiare is 100% Sauvignon from the Dolegna del Collio area.  Fermentation took place in stainless steel vats and a fifth of the wine saw malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail price comes in around $23.

This Sauvignon is tinted a very light gold, almost clear.  The nose gives aromas more common to New World Sauvignon Blancs - grass, herbs, salinity.  The grassiness is not, however, on par with, say, a New Zealand SB.  It's a little more restrained than that.  On the palate, citrus minerality is the rule, with an extremely fresh acidity.  The lemon-lime flavor comes back on the lengthy finish.  Fish is a great pairing for this wine, something along the lines of a tuna salad or nicoise would be ideal.

Bosco del Merlo Sauvignon Blanc Turranio

Bosco del Merlo's winery name was inspired by the oak forests - boscos - that once covered the area and were referenced on topographical maps.  Turriano refers to Ruffino Turranio of Concordia Sagittaria.  He was a monk and a historian just a few centuries after the birth of Christ.  The Bosco del Merlo estate winery was founded in 1977 by brothers Carlo, Lucia and Roberto Paladin.

The estate vineyards are right on the border between Veneto and Friuli, and this wine is Friuli DOC.  The grapes for Turranio were harvested separately - different Sauvignon Blanc clones of different ages.  The grapes of the first harvest were tasked with freshness and minerality.  The grapes of the second harvest were for structure and body.  The fruit was vinified separately, then aged five months in steel, in contact with the spent yeast cells.  Alcohol clocks in at 13% abv and the wine sells for around $20.

This pale yellow wine has a fragrant nose with some grassy, herbal notes, although not as grassy as the Tiare.  There is a nice floral element and some tropical fruit, too.  The palate shows a great Sauvignon Blanc flavor profile - citrus, minerals, herbs - and an acidity which is pleasant enough without getting too crazy.  I sometimes find Sauvignon to be a little much on the palate for my taste, but that is not the case with the Turriano.  It is a very nice sip and wonderful match for rice or pasta dishes, especially those with an herbal flair to them.

Cantina Kurtatsch Alto Adige Sauvignon Kofl

Kurtatsch Kellerei-Cantina is a wine cooperative which has been around since 1900.  Some 190 families contribute the leg and back work, while winemaker Othmar Doná transforms their fruit into wine.

This wine comes from the Alpine region of Alto Adige, where the German language is just as common to hear as Italian.  The winery says the vineyard lies in the shadow of the great mountains to the west, so the sun sets early there and makes for a white wine heaven.  The sandy, gravelly soil sports a lot of dolomite and quartz, which benefits the minerality.  Kofl was vinified in steel tanks, then aged for a year, on the lees, in big oaken barrels.  

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