(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.
(2017) This Pinot Blanc from Friuli, north of Venice and close to the Slovenian border, is fermented in large Slavonian oak casks. It has a certain richness on the nose, cream, ripe, sweet apple and a light hint of spices. In the mouth it has texture and richness too, though the fruit is juicy and racy, a touch tropical, but finishing with apple acidity.
(2016) One of the most attractively packaged wines I have seen for some time, this is one of a pair of delightful northern Italian whites in Wine Rack, its partner Sauvignon the same price and really just as good. This is a Friuli wine made from the grape once known as Tocai Friulano, that term now outlawed following Hungarian intervention, and so now simply Friulano (aka Sauvignonasse). It shimmers with life, the creamy but crisp apple nose showing touches of floral character and almond creamy/nuttiness, but clean as a whistle. On the palate it is quite full and rich in texture, but has beautifully limpid fruit clarity, great freshness, and a long, elegant and tapering finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) Wonderful tobacco and honey colour. Beautiful nose, delicate salt and tiny meat-stock notes. Extraordinary salty intensity, like a great Fino sherry but without the oxidation, meaty notes, such superb natural concentration with a great lemony thrust of acidity, huge precision to the finish. No doubt this will age for a decade or more.
(2016) A touch of ruby almost at the core of the golden, tobacco colour. A little more toffee and richness than the Ribolla 2007, but still that amazing intensity and stunning clarity. There's that salt and meat again, perhaps a slightly broader overall feel, but then the precision and luminosity of the Ribolla is so stunning.
(2016) Still very much tobacco/amber colour. An ethereal nose, gentle apple skin and waxy lemon, the subtle chalk and light earth of Botrytis in this vintage. There's a cashmere softness to this but still such a wonderful natural concentration.
(2016) There's almost a chocolaty character to this, a little mint and again more breadth than the Ribolla 2006, less of that salt-streaked Fino or Manzanilla dryness. But it has the spark and vitality, with a little zest and flashing juiciness, that is more 'orthodox', but it is beautifully dashing and fine.
(2016) From magnum. Delightful amber glow, a deeper colour. There is a light leafiness to this and them that lovely saline freshness . A hint of burnt orange and that intensely dry, concentrated phalanx of acids and earthy, elemental flavours. Hugely introspective, contemplative stuff and still very young. Price quoted is for a magnum.
(2016) Coffee, cappuccino and caramel flood the nose, a real characteristic of the Breg for me, with immense intensity and characteristic salinity and depths of waxy brown paper, ground coffee and still vital lemon acidity. This was fabulous with the food.
(2016) Sauvignon Blanc makes 40% of the blend along with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Again chocolate, smoke and a certain richness, with gentle toast before that shocking saline rush of salted lemon, rim of a Margherita thrust of acidity, lemon and salt.