I recently spent a couple of days in Friuli: a kind invitation from a go-ahead UK wine importer with which we work. I was fascinated to discover just what this coner of Italy was like. It is the source of much of the country's best white wine. It has its own language, regularly used, spoken by all: Friulian, a tongue utterly unlike Italian...or anything else, from what I could gather. And a part of the country snuggled up against Slovenia. Culturally, this place had to be either confused or very confident about its other-ness.
Not having ever visited Friuli before, what I found was a landscape, a people and a culture with which I felt comfortably familiar. The rolling countryside (you can see it in the shot above, taken from the terrace at the Canus winery, looking across into Slovenia, no more than a couple of miles distant) does not seem overly foreign. The people are amicable, their food and wine deft, self-assured, uncomplicated, yet not by any means unsophisticated.
And I have found a source of some of the most interesting Sauvignon Blancs I have ever tasted. Throughout the visit we were presented with enthralling samples of wines made from the local grapes Ribolla Gialla and Friulano (Tokai Friulano of old). Yet in many instances, it was the Sauvignon which which really seemed to be best expressing the landscape with unswerving veracity. And I have bought 25 cases for a Daily Drinker mailing. I never imagined the day would come!