Collio Sauvignon Blanc DOC
The Cicinis Sauvignon Blanc is an utterly distinctive expression of Sauvignon Blanc. From a single vineyard in the Collio area, the tremendous density and aromatics are joined by a deep and complex texture due to the aging in oak barrels and cement eggs. Truly the Attems flagship.
Cicinis comes from a 5 acre single vineyard parcel located on a terraced hillside slope at the foot of Monte Calvario (Podgora) in Collio Goriziano. One side faces south, the other faces north-northeast. The soil consists of sandstone, which was formed by the rising of seabeds 50 million years ago. The vines are trained to Guyot and have a planting density of 6,250 vines per hectare.
The estate in general extends over 110 acres on south-facing terraced slopes, just to the west of Gorizia, protected from both the cold northern winds and the characteristic “bora” wind of Trieste. The area is particularly suited to viticulture, making Friuli Venezia Giulia one of the leading grape-growing regions of Italy already since the end of the 19th century.
The estate is surrounded by nature that is unspoiled and rich in biodiversity, important factors even in the cultivation of grape vines. The three distinctive features of the this territory are the soils, the temperature fluctuations, and the sunlight.
The Attems estate has three distinct types of soils that are an enormous asset:
– The Isonzo section features floodplains with a sand, silt and gravel soil. It tends to be warmer and wetter than other areas of the estate. This, combined with its gentle winds, creates an ideal combination for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes that are harvested earlier to enhance the freshness and fruitiness of the wines.
– The middle area of the property, known as “manine” is a primarily flat area set between Collio and Isonzo, characterised by loamy soils with good drainage. The varieties planted here are Pinot Grigio and Ribolla Gialla, characterised by their refined elegance.
– The highest, coolest and windiest part of the estate is in Collio. It takes its name “ponca” from a particular sandstone soil with alternating layers of marl, the composition of which originated millions of years ago. An ideal soil for viticulture, able to affect the aromatic characteristics of grapes and the flavor of the resulting wine. The grapes grown here are Sauvignon Blanc, Friulano and Picolit. The Cicinis hill is dedicated to the Sauvignon Blanc variety and harvested at two different moments, first in the lower parts and then in the higher areas.
The temperature of the region is the second major factor affecting the vineyards. Winters are harsh, with temperatures that often fall below zero. Summers are not excessively hot, with maximum temperatures below 30°C. The hilly layout of the area generates significant temperature fluctuations between daytime and nighttime. The combination of these conditions promotes the accumulation of sugars, pigments and aromatic substances in the grapes.
Lastly, sunlight has a critical role in how grapes ripen, given Attems’ location fewer than 10 miles from the Adriatic coast. The refractive effect of the sunlight on the Gulf of Trieste gives Collio a particularly intense and unique luminosity that, between August and September, contributes to the optimal ripening of grapes. Together with the significant temperature fluctuations, the refractive sunlight effect creates an ideal climate for the production of excellent white wines.
The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented whole cluster in egg-shaped cement tanks and wooden barrels (50% new, 50% second use), at a temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The fermentation lasts approximately 20 days. The wine then matures in a combination of French oak barrels (65%) and egg-shaped cement vats (45%) for 8 months. It rests in bottle for 3 months before release.
After a very cold January, spring came early compared to previous years. Temperatures began to rise as early as the end of February, contributing do a quick awakening of the plants for some grape varieties. The higher terraces on the hill were the first to bud, followed by the rest of the vineyard. The erratic temperatures in early spring proved challenging to the grapevines, especially with the cold that came in between the end of April and the beginning of May. The Attems vineyards suffered these conditions with more ease than those in other parts of northeastern Italy due to the region’s geography and the protection offered by the woods surrounding the estates.
The rapid rise of temperatures at the end of spring brought new life to the plants, allowing them to begin flowering at the beginning of June – about a month following the flowering of the green manure essences planted in autumn 2016. Green manure usage is a key and consolidated farming technique that sees widespread use in the Attems’ estate. The weather was moderately warm in June and rainfall was in line with that of past years. The hot 2017 summer saw very little rain, but the two summer storms in July provided a much needed respite to Attems’ vineyards. The Sauvignon blanc used for Cicinis was harvested partly at the end of August, and partly in mid September. The harvest dates were decided upon based on the tasting of the grapes, a key aspect of ensuring the best aromatic expression for Sauvignon from this specific vineyard
Elegant Straw yellow with green highlights, the wine’s nose is energetic with notes of thyme, nettles, and sage leaf followed by broom flowers and elderberry with light undertones of delicately spiced vanilla and ginger. On the palate the wine is enveloping with fresh citrus and tomato leaf notes. The finish is persistent and dense, typical of the best white wines from Ponca del Collio.
Collio Sauvignon Blanc DOC
Suggested Retail Price
More on Attems Cicinis 2017
July 24, 2020 - As part of his extensive program of content on Italian wines, James Suckling rounds his top 100 Italian white wines to enjoy this summer. The list proudly boasts several wine…
Other Wines by this Producer
The Attems Pinot Grigio demonstrates all of the amazing qualities of the Collio region in Friuli Venezia-Giulia: it has superb weight and texture, and is mineral-edged, savory, tangy, and lively.
Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato continues a traditional way of producing Pinot Grigio in the province of Venice. The term ramato, or "coppery", was used to describe the pink hue of the wine due to the slight contact with the purple skins before pressing and fermenting. This rosé boasts a rich, fruity bouquet, and opens full on the palate, with multi-faceted flavors.
Attems Sauvignon Blanc, like others from the region, remains a hidden treasure. The wines can be compared in fruit ripeness to Sancerre, with a more intense bouquet as well as a lusher weight and texture. Attems shows how the value of quality-driven, artisanal producers can be extraordinary.