Wine of the week: a very simple yet heavenly creation
This Italian white is the perfect example of a fascinating and rare grape, says Matthew Jukes.
2016 Le Alte, Friulano, Bidoli, Friuli-Grave, Italy (£9, Marks & Spencer).
I usually expound on the technical virtues and winemaking wizardry of the heroes who make the wines that make the grade for a feature on this page, but this bottle is the result of no such mysteries. Winemaker Arrigo Bidoli simply uses young friulano vines, machine-harvests them, cold macerates the fruit for six hours, adds yeast and then ferments at a low temperature for two to three weeks. Malolactic fermentation does not take place because the winery is so cold. It is unoaked and a slimline 12.5% alcohol on the scales when it is bottled. That's it I could do it. You could do it. I love the simplicity of this heavenly wine.
So how has it made it onto this very special page? The answer is that the grape friulano (which used to be called tocai friulano and is nothing to do with Hungarian tokaji, but is a synonym for sauvignon vert in Chile), when in the right hands, is truly magical and you don't need to do anything at all to capture its beauty. Any technical flourish, blending trick or winemaking gizmo would only take away from its singular character and blushing innocence. This wine might sell for only a lowly price, but it is the perfect example of this fascinating and rare grape. Classy, magical fruit, with a lean, raspy and haunting finish, this is a wine that willset your pulse racing. You might never go back to pinot grigio again.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the InternationalWine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).