Legends claim that this variety arrived from France in the early 1800’s as part of the dowry of a French noblewoman who married a local gentleman. I think it’s nice that it was given as part of a pact of love. It may well be that this is how the story of the Friuli Sauvignon developed separately yet in parallel with the Sauvignons of its area of origin. The variety in our locality adapts itself, maybe it modifies itself, or maybe the French version evolves through successive selections. Perhaps grape varieties follow the pattern of the evolution of languages; sometimes, isolated communities of emigrants preserve archaic aspects of their language which are otherwise lost in the evolution of the original roots. It is undeniable that today’s Sauvignon Friulano is very different from the French Sauvignon. Ours bears small, quite straggly bunches – it’s not highly productive – made up of elongated not round grapes. Once the wine is ready it has higher levels of acidity than its French-originated cloned material and quite high sugar content. It is highly resistant to moulds to the extent that if desired, it can be harvested later than the other.

Like other aromatic varieties, it prefers the cooler slopes and the clearer light of morning. As a consequence its best locations are east facing, which is why we ripped out those on the south-west slopes. The east-facing aspect of the Ruttars plot is ideal due to the high limestone content of the ground which brings out its refined nature.Most of the Sauvignon we produce is trained with the Guyot or double Guyot method. We are currently experimenting with the fan arrangement, the farm’s original training method which appears very promising.

The high acidity levels allow us to carry out a brief cold skin maceration without sacrificing the acidic vigour. Obtained through a soft pressing, just as for the other wines, it is not protected from oxidation at the pre-fermentation stage. The aim of this is to improve the olfactory refinement and preservation over time. It is fermented in small oak barrels which have mostly been used previously. At the end of the refining process which can take from nine to ten months, it is selected for bottling. In good years we produce a small cellar Selezione from the best barrels from the best vineyards. The wine itself has an unmistakable and distinctive aromatic personality, much different from Sauvignons made in other parts of the world.

When it’s young, its fragrance has soft notes, of white-fleshed fruits, particularly of white peach. As it ages, the aroma veers towards a more mineral spectrum, with flinty notes, while still keeping its own individual stamp. The mouthfeel is salty, yet regardless of the high acidity and the total absence of residual sugars, it still retains a certain sweetness. On drinking, it proves to have a deep, long finish. This wine keeps really well over time, perhaps being the most durable of the wines we make. It goes well with seafood dishes and first courses, is magnificent with lobster and crab, even with tomato-based sauces spices with fresh herbs such as basil. As for cheeses, it goes best with pecorino.

Nicola Manferrari