Sauvignon Blanc, Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape, that has become incredibly popular, with increased plantings in Australia over the last 10 years. It grows best in the cooler wine regions.

Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Orange in New South Wales and Tasmania are all regions which produce wonderful examples of Sauvignon Blanc. The coolest vintages have “grassy”, gooseberry characters, whereas, warmer vintages show more passionfruit flavour, but still with the trademark zingy acidity. In Margaret River, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Semillon, this creates a perfect partnership and a fuller style of wine. In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand's trademark grape.

Sauvignon Blanc is an important white grape in France, especially Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sémillon to produce Bordeaux Blancs and Cru Classé White Graves. Elsewhere in Bordeaux, it is also blended with Sémillon, to produce the amazing dessert wines of Sauternes. In the Loire Valley and particularly on the chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The wines produced are very different to New World equivalents, they tend to be less pungent, more restrained, mineral with smoky, gunflint notes.

After initial problems, it is now grown very successfully in Chile. The wines are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character.
The north-eastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia ranks with Tuscany and Piedmont in terms of quality of output. Nearly 62% of the wine produced in the region falls under a DOC designation - there are 11 DOC and 3 DOCG regions.

The best vineyards in the region are in the foothills of the Alps, facing south to receive direct sunlight and cool evening breezes blowing off the Adriatic. The soil is rich in calcium and sandstone, with patches of sand and gravel.

The region's output is about 60% white and 40% red. Friulano is the most famous variety, known for creating crisp, floral whites with great ageing potential, and Merlot is the leading red wine grape. There has also been a revival of orange wine in the region of the past decade.
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