All about wines of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia is the gateway to central Europe. It’s also home to some of the most prestigious, crystal clear, and layered white wines in Italy. 

With a fabulous view of the Mediterranean Sea, Friuli’s plains are perfect for viticulture, and both native and international varieties feel right at home. 

There’s quite a lot of vinous history in the region, too. We can thank Friuli for modern white wines, so without further ado, here’s all you wanted to know about the wines of Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy’s northern hills

Friuli covers 7,924 km2 (3059 sq. mi) and neighbours Austria across the Alps and Slovenia to the East. Actually, the region shares many similarities with Slovenia, including winemaking traditions and wine grapes. 

Although Friuli Venezia Giulia’s north is mountainous, the southern plains occupy 38% of the land and stretch all the way to the Gulf of Trieste. The Colli Orientali eastern hills and their perfect exposure are the source of the best wines in Friuli. Freshened by the sea’s breeze, grapes ripen to perfection. This is heaven for white grape varieties. 

The birthplace of modern white wines 

Mario Schiopetto was born in the 1930s in Friuli and spent his life revolutionizing the region’s winemaking. He promoted high-density vineyard planting and many other quality measures, but he’s better known for introducing the controlled temperature fermentation in stainless steel vats, the technique now used all around the world to make clean white wines. The Italian white wine style was born.

Today many countries replicate the Italian white wine style — crisp, vibrant white with a purity of aromas and a refreshing palate. Pinot Grigio, Tokay Friulano, and Verduzzo are popular grapes, but so are Sauvignon Blanc and other international varieties. 

The grapes and the wines 

Wineries in Friuli Venezia Giulia make 12,7 million hectoliters of white wine. That’s 77% of the total output, and DOCs protect 62% of all wines.

Twenty major varieties make the region’s vineyards, including Refosco, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo, and internationals like Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer. The three most important grapes are Pinot Grigio (26%), Merlot (15%), and Friulano (9%).

With a handful of IGPs, 12 DOC, and 4 DOCG, including the famous Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG, the region offers quality at all price points. 

Try the historical Schioppettino grape with a bottle of Casella Friuli Colli Orientali Schioppettino di Prepotto DOC with a nose of blackberries and spices over velvety tannins.

A flower-scented and crisp Komjanc Simon Collio Ribolla Gialla DOC is an elegant rendition of the autochthonous grape.

Friuli’s Merlot is straightforward and pleasing, as you can see in a glass of Komjanc Simon Collio Merlot, and the Draga wine winery makes a very competitive and great-valued Draga Collio Pinot Grigio.

Friuli will satisfy your deepest wine cravings

Refreshing and elegant can describe Friuli’s wines, and purity of flavours is always a given. The northeastern Italian hills complement the country’s wine scene beautifully with a wide selection of whites and reds of historical importance and unmatched quality. 

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