An international grape variety the Friulians think of as native
Sauvignon blanc, also referred to in Friuli as ‘Tocai aromatico’, was introduced into the region along with Sauvignonasse, the present-day Friulano (Tocai friulano), in around the 1850s. The grape variety is a varietal blend that occurred when vineyards were destroyed by powdery mildew. The various geological characteristics in the soils factor into the unique features of Friuli Sauvignon. There are three main types of soils:
- Flatland soils which are fine and rich in micro-elements on the surface with variable amounts of skeletal soils deeper down;
- Hillside soils which are shallow and composed of ‘flysch’ (alternating layers of marl and sandstone);
- Lowland hills which are deep with a finer grain.
The different soil conditions regulate the amount of water available and the level of fertility in the soils.
Friuli: a region with a propensity for growing Sauvignon
Along with Central France-Loire Valley (Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé), New Zealand, South Africa and Styria, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is the birthplace of excellent white wines from Sauvignon blanc.
Compared with other wine regions across the world, the climate in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia offers a good balance between the cool climates typical of northern Europe – the Rhine valley and Champagne – and the warmer climates of Australia and regions located farther South like Portugal and California. With a great range of soil types, some of which can be shallow with a high percentage of skeletal soils and others deep with a plentiful supply of water, over a limited area, the region is able to use a wide variety of vineyard management practices depending on the requirements of the vines. This also enables it to find the best solutions for managing vines in vintages that can be very different from year to year.
Friuli-Venezia-Giulia boasts an array of vineyard sites conducive to producing white wines. Combined with the most suitable vineyard management techniques, this allows it to make world class Sauvignon wines.