2017 Villa Job 'Sudigiri' Sauvignon
Region: Collio < Friuli < Italy
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; zero additions, not even SO2; from 15-year-old vines planted on a combination of marl, clay and silt soils; grapes are not sorted and spend two days on the skins before spontaneous fermentation in open barrels begins with indigenous yeasts; aged in concrete for 6 months, then 3 months in old mulberry barrels (4-5 years old), then another 2 months in bottle; unfined/unfiltered; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Alessandro Job
Skin-contact white is not a new thing coming in vogue – “orange” winemaking dates back centuries in regions like Friuli, although the technique lost favor around the 50’s when a “fresher” (read: conventional) style of white wine took over the market. Alessandro didn’t grow up in wine, he found his way to it after working for years in Milan then taking over his grandfather’s estate in Friuli that had some vines amidst organic corn fields and lots of wild forest. But his journey led him to the understanding that there is wine is both objective and subjective. He says: “Objective is the wine that all the people would like to drink. Subjective is a more personal wine, a personal trip. And so that is why during the last three years we decided to take out everything from the wine, because we understood after we read Steiner (the Biodynamic guru) and other philosophies about natural wine that what is very important is to understand exactly what we are looking for. And time and terroir for us are very important. So, time is to respect the season and to respect nature and what she can give to us. And time because we are not in a hurry to put all our wines in the bottle immediately just because the market needs it, because probably the wine is still not ready. And then we started to cut out everything so now we just make wine with simple juice. So, we're not correcting the acidity, we are not filtering the wine.”
With the forest, the stream and the vegetable crops, in addition to the huge variety of herbs and weeds growing between the vines, there is a ton of biodiversity on the estate. Which is important to the final product, according to Alessandro. He explains, "What we are looking for when we bring the grape inside the cellar and we make the skin contact, is for all this biodiversity to appear in our wine. Because 50% of your work and all your terroir and all the diversities is situated on the skin (translation: all the herbs and grasses in the vineyard, you taste those in the wine.) Then we make skin contact and this Sauvignon for us is the most complex wine that we have. This is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc. There is no grapefruit, gooseberry or cat pee. No jalapeno or green pepper. It isn’t piercing or direct. In fact, you would be hard pressed to pin it as Sauv Blanc. And that’s what we love about it. It is entirely itself, the Sauvignon from soils of this region between Grave and Collio in Friuli, with the added complexity of a few days on the skins. Here, and with this treatment, it is complex, and seductive, with layers of forest herbs and a dominant mint character. It smells like a mysterious amaro from a tiny Italian mountain village where all you know is that 32 herbs comprise it. And tastes like herby, minty peach juice for the Princess Bride. I am Buttercup drinking this wine on the eve of my marriage to Prince Humperdinck….