Le Sommelier presents one of Northern Italy’s great white wines.

schipetto-logo-largeIn this Saturday’s VINTAGES release, the LCBO bought a teeny tiny quantity of one of my favourite white wines from northern Italy –Schiopetto’s Sauvignon 2013 and will feature it in select stores across the province.

Mario Schiopetto was a pioneer and is credited with giving birth to the era of modern white wine in Friuli and transforming the conception of Italian white wine. Mario was part of a group of producers who worked from the end of the 1960s through the 1970s to improve and modernize the methods of Italian wine production. The group was made up of some of the biggest names in Italian wine history, including Piero Antinori (Antinori), Biondi Santi Franco & Jacopo (Biondi Santi), Niccolò Incisa della Rocchetta (Sassicaia), and Angelo Gaja (Gaja) to name a few.

As Antonio Galloni noted when he was with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, “Mario Schiopetto was an early visionary in making high quality wines in Friuli. Deeply influenced by his travels in France and especially Germany, he adapted much of what he learned to making wines in Friuli, most importantly the use of stainless steel to make crisp, fresh wines. The estate is located in Capriva, one of the cooler microclimates in Friuli, and therefore particularly favorable to the cultivation of Sauvignon.”

The 2013 Schiopetto Sauvignon is produced exclusively from Sauvignon blanc, grown on the fresh clay hills of the Collio DOC, where it produces small bunches with medium size grapes. The grapes are hand picked, pressed in a soft press after which there follows a brief period of decantation in total absence of sulphur dioxide. The fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks under a controlled temperature. The ageing takes place on the lees for 8 months.

Along with Antonio Galloni who rated this wine 93 points (see reviews below), it seems like everyone loves this wine! James Suckling rated it 92 points and gushed, “I love the sliced-apple and mineral character with lime and flint character.” John Szabo, MS also rated it 92 points and calls it a “terrific wine.” The most flattering review however, comes from Michael Godel (also 92 points) where he states “if any sauvignon blanc could help solve the answer to the distinction between religion and God, Schiopetto’s could very well be the one.” !!!!!!

I hope you’re as excited about this wine as I am (and all the wine writers!) and will go out and grab a bottle or two before it disappears. This is one of those white wine gems that will continue to evolve over the next five years.  Enjoy!

Bernard Stramwasser

Le Sommelier
twitter: @LeSommelierWine
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Schiopetto Sauvignon DOC Collio 2013

schiopetto-sauvignon-2013“The 2013 Sauvignon brings together super-expressive varietal Sauvignon aromatics with ripe yellow orchard fruit, a combination that works beautifully here. Sage, mint, peach and apricot are some of the notes that flesh out on the finish. This is one of the riper, more voluptuous Friulian Sauvignons readers will come across, yet all the elements are impeccably balanced throughout. Drinking window: 2015-2020.” 

Score: 93

(Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, June 2015)

“I love the sliced-apple and mineral character with lime and flint character. Some almond, too. Full body with bright acidity and a long, flavorful finish. As sauvignon should be from Collio.”

Score: 92

(James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, Sept 2014)

“A textbook, highly concentrated sauvignon from this corner of Europe (Friuli/Styria/Slovenia), thick, rich and glycerous, obviously packed with flavour in the way that only careful farming and the right site can achieve. This is neither dominated by sauvignon’s inherent greenness, nor the tropical side, but rather somewhere comfortably in the middle, with no oak influence. Top northern California may be the closest reference point. Terrific wine in any case, drinking well now but surely capable of further evolution into an umami-rich range of flavours. Tasted September 2016. Value Rating: ***”

Score: 92

(John Szabo, MS, WineAlign.com, Sept 2016)

“Ripe, pungent and forthright Collio sauvignon blanc from the regional leader Schiopetto, culled from top level terroir and exercised with great intent. No Aqualung here, no “start away uneasy.” Dives into stony, flinty and mineral tangy waters then emerges to tell a tale of richness and mille-feuille layering. Top level sauvignon blanc for anywhere but from a very specific, agriculturist place. Finishes with a creamy lemon curd and a shot of adrenaline. If any sauvignon blanc could help solve the answer to the distinction between religion and God, Schiopetto’s could very well be the one. Drink 2016-2022. Tasted September 2016.”

Score: 92

(Michael Godel, WineAlign.com, Sept 2016)

Varietal: 100% Sauvignon
Region: Friuli, Italy
Price: $32.95 (per bottle)
LCBO#: 165027

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