We opened this bottle tonight, a Sauvignon Blanc from the North East of Italy at some 6 years of age. Knowing it was sealed under cork is the first concern; has that been compromised thus either contaminating the wine with TCA or rendering it undrinkable through oxidation. Happily neither had happened, although the cork was “soaked” almost halfway down its length, the wine (as with all our cork-sealed wines) has been stored horizontally and under temperature-controlled conditions for their time in the cellar.
It might not be the best photograph, but you might detect the straw-gold colour of the wine, far from the green-tinged Sauvignons of a year or two of age that you’re most likely familiar with from places such as the Loire (the variety’s homeland), Chile, South Africa or New Zealand. As the wine was poured, a noticeable viscosity (as opposed to the “watery” look of fresher, younger wines) is evident, again giving a hint as to the age of the wine (and the fact that this is a 14.5% alcohol wine).
Honeyed, intensely floral (I couldn’t hesitate at a precise flower for you, but this is of the “blowsy” sort, not a delicate bloom), the nose shouts “ripeness” at you from the rim of the glass. Perhaps the most intriguing element of all is the way in which the acidity has dissipated so that it’s more akin to a Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc perhaps, without any allegedly hallmark Sauvignon Blanc characteristics such as gooseberry.
That in itself made it a fine pairing for a summer roast chicken with tarragon, a few new potatoes roasted in duck fat and rosemary, with simply steamed pak-choi with seasame oil; a lighter version of the UK’s year-round fascination with Sunday roasts.
Vie di Romans is one of our favourite producers of Italian white wines, with a roster that includes superb Pinot Grigio, and this is from the “Piere” vineyard, populated with more Italian clones of Sauvignon than French (itself nice to see that reliance on emulating the “homeland” assuaged and instead carving out something unique, even though imitation maybe the sincerest form of flattery). The producer estimates the peak of maturation is around 7 years, so this example was pretty much (according to them, and you’d have to agree if you had tasted it) bang on the money for drinking now, with a maximum of 16 years ageing. That, I think, would be an education but very quirky.
The 2007 was a tre bicchieri winner in the Gambero Rosso, still drinking at that level according to the 2012 guide. Back in 2010 it was the sole wine from this producer to win the coveted Three Glasses, described as “a wine of depth and allure that unveils a hint of vanilla.”
Checking the UK importers current list, the current vintage is 2010, and sad to say we’ve only a few bottles of the ’07 left. As with every grape variety, the more nuances, differences, and stylistic interpretations that are open to us, the more we can learn to appreciate both the location from whence it came and the skills of the winemakers in bringing those to us.
Vie di Romans “Piere” Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – £27.20
Vie di Romans “Piere” Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – £29.15 (£26.24 if 6+ bottles)