Last week, we took a look at a couple of sparkling Italian wines that we think everybody should try at least once.
This week, we’re heading back into still territory. We’re going to take a look at a great Italian white wine that we feel doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.
This wine comes from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and is made entirely using Sauvignon grapes. But before we get to our review of it, we want to take a look at the history of the company that makes it. After all, you can’t really know what a wine has to offer until you know as much as possible about the people who make it.
The History of Volpe Pasini
Where many of the companies that we’ve looked at in the past have fairly recent histories, Volpe Pasini can truly stand as one of the old men of the Italian wine industry.
Buried deep within the Colli Orientali of Friuli DOC zone, the building that houses the winery dates all of the way back to the sixteenth century. Over hundreds of years, it’s withstood everything that time and the elements had to throw at it in order to become the centre of operations for Volpe Pasini. And it’s still going strong all of the way into the modern day.
That building is a heritage villa that was built all the way back in 1596. Today, it contains officers, a winery, and a wine cellar. But back when it was built, it was home to more local producers who perhaps didn’t have the sense of industry scope that its current owners have.
In fact, they not only own the villa that hosts the winery. Volpe Pasini also hosts the many buildings that surround the villa. All told, that accounts for over 20,000 square metres of property, which includes the small vineyard that forms the basis of most of the wines that the company produces. Incidentally, those grounds also play host to a centuries-old park that’s a true natural joy to behold.
The villa is also a historian’s dream. The company maintains a host of documents that demonstrate how the villa has contributed to the Italian wine industry from today all of the way back to the 17thcentury.
However, for many centuries, the property had something of a mixed vocation. While wine production was always somewhere near the top of the list, it was complemented with more traditional agricultural production.
It was not until we’d gone past the mid-point of the 20thcentury that the owners decided that the time was right to focus solely on the wines produced at the villa. It became an exclusive winemaking exercise, with Volpe Pasini joining an exclusive and elite set of wine producers whose sole goal was to put the Fruilian region on the map.
Throughout the 1970s, the company’s focus shifted onto its wine and it reputation, along with that of its region, started to grow. They became part of a group of pioneering producers who hope to carry the art of Fruilian winemaking forward into the 21stcentury. In doing so, they’d build the reputation of the region up in its native country as well as cultivating an international reputation for the company’s wines.
To do that, the company needed to move away from some of the traditions that had perhaps held it back for several years. They poured their efforts into further research that focused on two areas: improving the excellence of their product and breaking into new markets beyond Italy.
Excellence was always a hallmark, so the efforts in that area simply resulted in yet more improvements for the company’s wine. However, Volpe Pasini identified both Germany and the United States as being vital components of their international expansion. With those countries on board, they would be able to push on further.
And that’s exactly what they did. Today, about half of the wine that the company produces sells outside of Italy. This is bolstered by an international network of suppliers that the company has cultivated for the past 30 years.
The company now stands in a healthier position, both in terms of financial health and competitiveness within the industry, than ever before. And it’s not done yet. Those had won commercial relationships are just the foundation of the ultimate goal of expanding to yet new territories.
But for now, it acts as a solid base for a company that did a lot to put the wines of its region right back on the map. The past few decades have seen a period of intense change at this centuries-old winery. The coming decades will see it build on these changes to establish itself in both the domestic and international domains at a higher level than it currently stands.
Volpe Pasini is one of the most important companies in its region. Now, let’s look at one of the best wines to emerge from it in recent years.
The Volpe Pasini Sauvignon Zuc di Volpe 2016 is an absolutely stunning white wine.
Once poured, you’ll note the classic straw yellow colouring of a white wine that’s ready for consumption. That’s not to say that the bottle has no ageing potential though. In fact, you can store it for between five and 10 years without affecting the wine’s integrity.
To the nose, the wine offers an array of fruity notes that instantly captivate the drinker. However, those who explore a little further will spot a “green” aspect to the bouquet. It’s almost as though you can smell the vine in the profile, which only adds to the allure.
To the taste, the wine offers a wonderful balance between structure and flavour. The sharp and fruity aromas become more soft and elegant as you drink. This creates an interesting contrast between nose and palette that’s an absolute joy.
This wine comes so highly recommend it that our experts have given it a score of 95/100. That goes along with the many other accolades that people have granted to it.
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