Borgo del Tiglio Collio Sauvignon Selezione 2017
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Reserve your finest flakey-fish recipe for the Borgo del Tiglio 2017 Collio Sauvignon Selezione (green label), a textbook rendition of the fragrant grape, dressed in a way that is specific to Friuli. Compared to Sauvignon Blanc from, say, New Zealand, this region tends to produce softer expressions that are void of any pungent greenness. In fact, the bouquet here is floral and delicate with white rose, orchard fruit, quince and soft lemon. There is also a very distinctive mineral note of crushed seashells in this release of 1,200 bottles that immediately transports you to northeast Italy. Hats off.
Borgo del Tiglio produces wine from three parcels all located on the hills of the DOC Collio area. It is one of the most endorsed areas for white wines in Italy and it consists of a small hill chain located on the most eastern limb of Northern Italy.
The closeness to the Adriatic Sea and to the Julian Alps makes for significant climatic differences depending on the exposure of the area. The soil too, generated by the fragmentation of marl and sandstone layers that form the subsoil, varies depending on the area.
Since 1987 the wine cellar has been engaged in studying these differences in order to bring out the terroir of its wines. The aim is to specialize the three properties of Brazzano, Ruttars and Ca’ della Vallade in the cultivation of those grapes that are best suited to be cultivated on a certain site.
Capable of a vast array of styles, Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character. Though it can vary depending on where it is grown, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. This variety is of French provenance. Somm Secret—Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.
The source of some of Italy’s best and most distinctive white wines, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is where Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures converge. The styles of wines produced in this region of Italy's far north-east reflect this merging of cultures. Often shortened to just “Friuli,” the area is divided into many distinct subzones, including Friuli Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Collio Goriziano and Carso. The flat valley of Friuli Grave is responsible for a large proportion of the region’s wine production, particularly the approachable Pinot grigio and the popular Prosecco. The best vineyard locations are often on hillsides, as in Colli Orientali del Friuli or Collio. In general, Friuli boasts an ideal climate for viticulture, with warm sunny days and chilly nights, which allow grapes to ripen slowly and evenly.
In Colli Orientali, the specialty is crisp, flavorful white wine made from indigenous varieities like Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Ribolla gialla and Malvasia Istriana.
Red wines, though far less common here, can be quite good, especially when made from the deeply colored, rustic Refosco variety. In Collio Goriziano, which abutts Slovenia, many of the same varieties are planted. International varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are also common, but they tend to be Loire-like in style with herbaceous character and mellow tannins. Carso’s star grape is the red Teranno, notable for being rich in iron content and historically consumed for health purposes. It has an earthy, meaty profile and is often confused with the distinct variety Refosco.