Wine Regions of Italy – Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Friuli-Venezia Giulia encompasses the far north-eastern corner of Italy bordering Austria on the north, Slovenia to the east, the Veneto to the west and the Gulf of Trieste to the south. The north of the region is alpine, the south more Mediterranean, but most of Friuli-Venezia Giulia qualifies as cool climate. Friulano, also called Tai (after its former name of Tocai Friulano) is the region’s signature white grape. Other indigenous whites include Verduzzo and Picolit. These see competition from international white grapes Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, Riesling, and especially the hyper-popular Pinot Grigio.
Colli Orientali del Friuli and its neighbor Collio Goriziano have some of the most highly regarded hillside vineyards in the region. Sauvignon Blanc is the star grape here, in company with the local whites Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo and Picolit. The Picolit has its own denomination, Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG. Refosco (a grape Friuli shares with nearby Slovenia and Croatia) is the lead red, followed by local Pignolo, and then the French invaders Merlot and both Cabernets. Within Colli Orientale del Friuli is the sub-zone Rosazzo DOCG, created in 2011 primarily for Friulano.
The Friuli-Grave DOC, named after its gravel soils, covers a large portion of the region, making white wines from Friulano, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Friuli Aquileia DOC and Friuli Isonzo DOC are similar.
Friuli Annia DOC produces red varietals from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and the local Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, and whites from Friulano, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Verduzzo, Traminer and Chardonnay, as well as rosés and sparkling wines.
Friuli Latisana DOC makes varietal reds from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the local Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, whites from Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Bianco, Verduzzo, and Traminer, dried grape Passito wines and sparkling wines from both colors.
Carso DOC hugs the border with Slovenian Istria, producing floral reds from the Refosco grape and herbaceous whites from Malvasia.
Lison DOCG and Lison Pramaggiore DOC are discussed under Veneto, which shares the denomination. It should also be noted that Friuli-Venezia Giulia produces a great deal of Prosecco, also discussed under Veneto.