Friuli-Venezia Giulia

There are simply a plethora of high quality red, white, blush and sparkling wines reigning from the region that it is a complete disservice to attempt to recognize every single representative. Just completing a simple google search and it becomes evident there are nearly endless quality possibilities for nearly every pallet, pocketbook and marriage.

Really the headline of this strong vinicultural group is Tocai, formerly known as Tocai Friulano; it, like many regional favorites, is largely misunderstood and under appreciated internationally for its true greatness. Tocai is often referred to by seasoned sommelier's as a lively, refreshing, invigorating, and smooth wine with high mineral and pear highlights. Other wines as well as varietals of particular interest include Carso Malvasia DOC, Carso Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso DOC, Colli Orientale del Friuli Bianco, Malvasia, Picolit, Pignolo, Ramandolo and Refosco and Penducolo Rosso DOC respectively. Other noteworthy originale tipici (typical of the region) comprise Collio Bianco, Collio Picolit, Collio Ribolla Gialla, and Collio Tocai DOC.

Some straight varietals of note include Schioppettino, Verduzzo, Tazzelenghe and Malvasia as well as Ramandolo and Rosazzo. In reality we are merely scratching the surface here in terms of breadth of production. One of our favorites yet is not always available due to its relative scarcity here in the states is Mario Schiopetto Tocai Friulano Collio. Typical foods of the region which pair exceedingly well with regionally specific as well as many other gourmet foods and recipes include native specialty's including the World popular San Daniele prosciutto and hams, regionally specific, unique, and delicious cheeses including Alto But, Asino (or donkey cheese), Blu Ramandolo, Caciotta Affumicata (smoked Caciotta), Dolce Capra (an interesting goat cheese typical of mountain areas and often considered a table cheese), Dolcemalga, Enomonzo Stagionato, Enomonzo Stravecchio, Enomonzo Vecchio, Flors, Formaggio di Montagna, Formaggio Saltarello, Formaggio Umbriaco (referred to as drunken cheese, it is made of cows milk soaked in wine or sometimes beer; in this case wine as you can see from the distinct red wine color rind),, smoked ricotta, farmadi frant, Frichetto, Latteria, Malga San Giacomo,miramar, Montasio, Occhione di Carnia, and Pastorino just to name a few of the very delicious and compelling cheese selections from this gripping wine and food region.

Specialty foods of the region:
It is noteworthy of the location of this region as it is a direct influence on the foods. The regions close proximity to Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia have shaped and otherwise influenced the entire culture of the region. The influence also includes food and wine for that matter. Gourmet foods of this region could be called Italian although that would only be a partial truth. The real truth is the food is a melting pot of many influences. Probably the most recognizable food would be San Daniele Prosciutto. Others foods of note include Montasio cheese, various smoked cheeses (affumicato) including ricotta affumicato, speck, risotto, and gnocchi; other specialties include foods like kielbasa style sausages with sauerkraut, potatoes, and baked beans; certainly not what is commonly thought of as Italian, however somehow in its own way it is, and by the way can be very satisfying and delicious.

Wine Zones of the region
DOCG wine zones: Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit, Ramandolo
DOC wine zones: Carso, Colli Orientale del Friuli,  Collio Gorizano, Collio Annia, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, Lison-Pramaggiore, Prosecco
IGT wine zones: Alto Livenza, Delle Venezie, Friuli-Venezia, Venezia Giulia

About the region:
Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy is situated in the upper north east of the Country, bordering the boundaries of Veneto (Italy) to the west, Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. Because of its close proximity to the areas to the north east often referred to by the Romans and in the books of Cicero, Pliny the Elder as well as Edward Gibbon as the area of “the Barbarians”; the area acted as a gateway for invasion from the Germanic and Slavic peoples. Other intruders included the Veneti, Istrians, Celts, as well as the Romans. To this day there are fortifications, castles, and ruins erected for the direct purpose of defending the borders from outsiders. In essence the close proximity and constant interaction created the sharing of cultures, products, beliefs, and of course food and wine; so to state that this area has many influences and unique nuances as a direct result of constant cross border interaction would be a great understatement. Today the region is an interesting mix of its many influences, including Slavic, Austrian and of course Italian.

Despite its rich and eclectic history, the region (with the exception of its seaside attractions) remains the least visited in all of Italy, which really is a shame, for the region has many treasures.

Provinces: Pordenone (PN), Udine (UD), Gorizia (GO), Trieste (TS)
-Capital: Trieste
-Population of the region: aproximately1.2 million people

White (bianco): Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Picolit, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer Aromatico, Verduzzo.
Red (rosso): Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pignolo, Refosco, Schioppettino, Tazzelenghe, and Terrano.

The "Super Whites" of this region often Friulano blends which also may contain Malvasia and or Chardonnay are typically creamy, powerful and aromatic with lots of complexity and are sometimes aged in oak. Producers of note include Schiopetto, and Vie di Romans. Others of note would be the less mass produced varietals such as Refosco, Schioppettino for the reds and Picolit (bianco).

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