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Wine of the Week

La Dolce Vita: Sauvignon Blanc from Italy

By Wes Marshall, August 3, 2012, Food

Sauvignon Blanc is a tricky grape whose taste and aromas vary dramatically from region to region; it reaches its highest calling in France's Loire Valley and in northeastern Italy. Anyone with even the vaguest interest in the grape should know about the region of Collio, Italy's gold-standard area for Sauvignon. Collio is actually inside another region called Friuli, another good area for Sauvignon. Collio also extends across the border into Slovenia. Driving the back roads, everything is lush, hilly, and gorgeous. Europeans hold their hands over their hearts before talking about a wine's terroir, but in Collio, there is some justification. I've asked the locals what makes their wines so distinctive and have gotten every possible answer, most of them having to do with wine versions of pixie dust and ground unicorn horns. The truth is, the white wines from this area of the world truly are amazing. They are distinctive, yet exactly what the grape should smell and taste like. They have enough oomph to please American palates, yet they have perfect balance for the area's lovely fresh produce, grilled polenta, and myriad seafood preparations. Collio wines are so good, I think you'd be pleased with any you find.

This was why I was so happy to locate a bottle of Marco Felluga's Russiz Superiore Sauvignon Riserva Collio Sauvignon ($23) in the cooler at Whip In the other night. It was manna while we listened to the bands at Teen Proper Nang Night (especially Residual Kid, the reason for our visit). The wine smells a bit like fresh grown grass on a spring day, and matched perfectly with Whip In's crab cakes with lemon mayonnaise. Marco Felluga makes two other Sauvignons from Collio, one by his own name at $17 and a Reserva at $35. All have that Collio magic and are perfect examples of the grape. Better wine shops will have Felluga wines, and any good shop can order them.

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