Friuli-Venezia Giulia is perhaps Italy’s most exciting white wine region. Its gently rolling hills and complex geology provide the perfect conditions for fresh, mineral driven wines. The key varieties are are the enticing Ribolla Gialla, the seductively smoky Tocai Friulano, and Malvasia Istriana. Sweet wines made from Verduzzo and Picolit are amongst the best Italy has to offer and compete with any passito style wine from elsewhere.
Red wines are also pretty interesting here. The region’s wealth of local varieties is a key feature. The most important are from the Refosco group, Pignolo and, as the name suggests, the razor sharp Tazzelenghe. There are even a handful of producers making special wines with completely obscure grapes such as Fumat and Curvin.
The most comprehensive appellation for demonstrating the region’s white grape diversity is Collio DOC, or Collio Goriziano as it’s sometimes referred to. Here, on the hillsides that border Slovenia, the production zone allows for sixteen different mono-varietal wines to made, the only stipulation being that they must count for at least 85% of the blend.
In Carso, another small delimited area close to the Slovenian border a few more red varieties are permitted. There are plantings of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Terrano. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon play a big role in the region, as well as Merlot and Pinot Nero.
Home to the Friulano grape, Friuli Colli Orientali produces a number of complex white wines. It also specialises in white grapes such as Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo and Picolit.
Carso DOC is home to the Terrano grape variety that produces vibrant red wines with plenty of black fruit and violet aromas.
Collio, also referred to as Collio Goriziano DOC is one of the key appellations of Friuli. Located on the border with Slovenia, it produces a range of varietal wines from local and international grapes.
Friuli DOC, or Friuli-Venezia Giulia DOC as it is sometimes referred to produces white and red wines from a number of grape varieties. It was granted from the 2017 vintage.
Friuli Annia is a small appellation used for a range of red and white wines in the province of Udine.
Created in 1974, Friuli Isonzo DOC is home to wines from white grapes such as Pinot Grigio, Verduzzo and Friulano planted in alluvial soils just south of the Isonzo River. Red wines are often made from Refosco and Schioppettino.
Ramandolo DOCG is a small appellation for sweet wines made using the Verduzzo Giallo biotype of the Verduzzo Friulano variety. It gives ripe but tannic wines with notes apricot and honey. Age brings a touch of almond.
Rosazzo is a small growing area in Friuli-Venezia Giulia known for excellent wines from Friulano.
The Venezia Giulia IGP covers still wine making from a range of different grape varieties.