(2017) Produced at the Azienda Grappolo d’Oro on the Alpine terraces of Friuli, the Martincigh family farm this 20-hectare estate, which has been devoted to vineyards since Roman Times. This is a terrifically expressive Sauvignon, capturing some of the brilliance normally associated with Marlborough in New Zealand, but tempered with a classic northern European restraint. There's a hint of Alpine white flowers, a touch of English summer hedgerows, and an exotic fruitiness with notes of lychee and juicy, ripe mango along with some lemony zest. The smooth, ripe character of the palate has weight and real presence, and a similar balance of the tropical and of clear, shimmering focus to the fruit and acidity. Super-impressive. A 2.25-litre box costs £27.00 (£9.00 per bottle equivalent) and 5-litres costs £49.00, or £7.36 per bottle equivalent.
(2015) At one time this wine would have been a 'Tocai' Friulano, but the use of the term Tocai was outlawed by the EU in the 1990s after petitions by Hungary's famous Tokaji or Tokay region. It comes from the far northeast of Italy, and has a really absorbing nose, with honey and brioche richness, hints of something floral, and quite a natural nutty and appley character. On the palate it is searingly dry, a real blast of pithy citrus and minerality, almost Fino-like in its salty precision. Possibly not everyone's cuppa, but I liked it. 88