The Territory and the wine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Friuli-Venezia Giulia has always been the land of great white wines. The fame of these wines, although with very different styles and expressions, has reached such levels as to push someone to call them “superwhites”. Next to the grapes of international vines, which here have in many cases found ideal production areas, equally important is the presence of native vines that with their wines characterize the enology of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The region can be ideally divided into three areas: the flat area that covers the province of Pordenone and part of the province of Udine, with the DOC Grave and the DOC Aquileia, Annia and Latisana plains; the north-eastern area of the province of Udine and the province of Gorizia with the DOC Isonzo, Colli Orientali del Friuli and Collio, and finally the Giuliana part with the DOC Carso. Each of these macro-areas is characterized by specific style of wines and native vines.
Production areas and wines of Friuli Venezia Giulia
Friuli-Venezia Giulia produces white and red wines, while rosé wines are very widespread in the region. The wines from Verduzzo Friulano and Picolit grapes are among the most famous Italian dessert wines. In Friuli-Venezia Giulia there are currently four DOCG, ten DOC and three IGT. Let’s take a closer look at the most important productive areas of the region.
Collio or Collio Friulano
Collio is located in the eastern part of the region, in the province of Gorizia, and is particularly famous for the production of white wines. Tocai Friulano and Ribolla giallo are the most important vines grown in this area, flanked by international vines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. With these grapes both monovarietal wines and interesting blends are produced that allow the characteristics of the different grape varieties to be harmoniously blended. In Collio, red wines are also produced, in particular with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Colli Orientali del Friuli
The area of the Colli Orientali del Friuli is the second most famous and important area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and is located more to the north-west, in the province of Udine. Here we produce one of the most sought after and famous dessert wines in Italy, the Picolit. Another sweet wine is produced from Verduzzo Friulano grapes, both passito and late harvest. As in the Collio, the production of Colli Orientali del Friuli mainly concerns white wines, particularly from Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes. The red wines of the Colli Orientali del Friuli come from grapes of international vines, such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, while among the autochthonous grapes to nerarisultano they are very interesting the Schioppettino, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Tazzelenghe and Pignolo.
The Grave area (or Friuli Grave DOC) is the largest denomination in the region and extends from the province of Udine to the west up to that of Pordenone. Its name derives from the soil, rich in pebbles and gravel, suitable for producing excellent wines. It represents over two thirds of the regional wine production. Grave wines generally have less complexity than those of Collio or Colli Orientali del Friuli, however the average quality level of the wines of the appellation is among the highest in Italy. In the Grave, white wines are produced from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Tocai Friulano grapes, while the production of red wines is mainly based on the international Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes and with the autochthonous Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso grape.
The Ramandolo area before 2001 was a sub-area of the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC denomination. It was the first DOCG in the region, which today (2018) has four. It produces the homonymous sweet wine from Verduzzo Friulano grapes, starting from both overripe and dried grapes.
The other productive areas of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Also important is the denomination Friuli Isonzo DOC where wines that recall those of the Collio are produced and which is located south of this area. The wines, mainly white, come from Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon grapes. Red wines are produced with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In the southern part of the region, flat, there are the DOC Annia and Latisana, in which predominantly white wines are produced which are directly affected by the influence of the maritime climate.
The regional cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
The cuisine from Friuli-Venezia Giulia reflects the soul of the two territories, namely that of the Carnica and subalpine area and that of the Adriatic coast. For appetizers, among the cured meats we find Prosciutto di San Daniele PDO and Prosciutto di Sauris PGI. Other typical appetizers are the granseola alla triestina and the smoked trout. As first courses we have soups like carsolina (with eggs and flour), jota (potato and sauerkraut minestrone), rice and potato soup and many others. The Adriatic coast is famous for its fish soups, while among the pasta dishes we recall the agnolotti alla Carnia (with ricotta and spinach) and the cimazon di Timau (pasta stuffed with potatoes, raisins and aromas seasoned with smoked ricotta and melted butter). ). Typical are the dumplings drowned, seasoned with minced meat and liver and numerous risottos with seafood. Also for the latter we can find the same separation between typically alpine meat dishes and other fish-based riparian dishes. Among the first, the baked veal shank, the carnaiola head (of veal, boiled, cut into strips and served with sauce), the Austro-Hungarian goulash, the pork in raspberry sauce, the toc de purcit (stew of pork with liver, flavored with cinnamon and cloves) and frico (a unique dish of Montasio cheese fried in butter, with potatoes and onions). Among the numerous game dishes we recommend the Bohemian hare (stewed with herbs) and the venison in psalms, accompanied by the typical polenta pastizzada (obtained by adding milk and butter to the yellow flour and water). Among the seafood dishes, we remember the small cuttlefish with granseola (stuffed with granseola pulp), the shrimp with sauce and the scallops au gratin. Among the side dishes, to remember the brovada dop, (turnips sour in the marcs and cut into strips) and the potatoes in tecia. Some examples of typical desserts are the gubana (leavened dough filled with raisins, pine nuts, walnuts and candied lemon and orange peel), the presnitz (a typical sweet from Trieste made from puff pastry rolled with a filling of walnuts, almonds, pine nuts) , figs, plums, apricots, raisins, grated chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and rum), the strucolo (a strudel, both sweet, with apples, which is salty, with spinach) and pinza, a winter based dessert of stale bread, milk, sugar, eggs, dried fruit, raisins, apples and fennel seeds. Typical biscuits known as “they” by Raveo, for their particular curved shape.