Description 1 of 2
Common synonyms: Blanc doux, Cinquien, Istarski Tokay, Malaga, Mosler, Sauvignon de la Correze, Sauvignon gros, Sauvignon à gros grains, Sauvignonasse, Sauvignonazz, Sauvignon vert, Tocai bianco, Tocai Italico, Tokai Italiano, Tokay, Trebbianello
Parentage of the grape: Unknown, but it has been proven through DNA testing that there is no relationship between this grape and either Hungarian Tokaji or Alsatian Tokay (Pinot Gris). It is, however, the same grape as Sauvignonasse.
History of the grape: Though Tocai Friulano was first mentioned in the 19th century, the grape in question was probably Furmint, perhaps sparking the association with Tokaji. In 1932, a new wine appeared under the same name. This one turned out to be the minor French grape Sauvignonasse, which is the variety grown under the name Tocai Friulano today. Recently, the Hungarians managed to persuade the EU to ban the use of all forms of the term Tocai by anyone except the producers of their great Tokaji. This left growers of Tocai Friulano to find a new name by 2007. Most have settled simply on Friulano, which is rather appropriate because it is the region’s signature variety. It is drunk in every local osteria with the regional cuisine.
As Sauvignonasse, it is made into rather anonymous wine in Chile.
Characteristics of the grape: Tocai Friulano is fleshy in texture, with flavors of peach, pear, and almond. It has good acidity, which makes it an excellent match with salty charcuterie, and can be very mineral.
Regions where the grape currently is important: Friuli (Collio, Colli Orientali, Grave del Friuli, and Isonzo), the Veneto, and Chile
Type or types of wines the grape produces: The best wines come from throughout Friuli.
Description 2 of 2
Tocai Friulano is now know as Friulano in Italy to avoid any confusion with that iconic Hungarian dessert wine, Tokaji, it's a Euro thing. Even more cponfusing is that this grape is also known as Sauvignon Vert or Sauvignonasse and is a somewhat distant relative of the famed Sauvignon Blanc. It shares a herbaceous note with the more famous Sauvignon but so toned down that frequently one misses it, particularly when it's planted in warmer climes. When in Friuli most white wine you'll find on the table will be Friulano and it's perfect for the cuisine. A touch on the lean side with nice melon, peach and citrus tones that are amply supported by bracing acids and transparent enough to reveal the minerality of the local soils, it's perfect for much of the seafood and white meat dishes of the region. In fact while seafood is generally recommended with Friulano I have always enjoyed it with rustic chicken and braised vegetable dishes that speak as much of central Europe as they might of Italy! Aromatically the wines tend to offer up notes of flowers, almonds and sweet herbs, almost spearminty, in addition to their fruitier notes. When grown in those warmer climes don't be surprised if sweet orchard fruits, pears in particular, have replaced the more gently melon tones. No matter where it's from Friulano, or Tocai Friulano as it's still called outside of the European Union, is a wine worth trying! – Description from Gregory Dal Piaz
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