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The Wines of Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) is located in the northeastern corner of Italy, near the borders with Slovenia and Austria. The region, home to 10 DOC and four DOCG appellations, is blessed with a mild climate, rolling hills, ample sunshine, regular cool breezes and a mineral-rich soil called Ponca. This combination of climate and soil produces some of the best white wines in Europe, including the international varietals Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as several lesser-known indigenous grapes such as Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Malvasia.
Among these local white wines, Friulano takes a place of pride as FVG’s signature varietal. Friulano wines are characterized by abundant fruit and minerality as well as a trace of almond on the finish. Despite the fame garnered by FVG’s white wines, the reds produced here have also become highly sought after in recent years. Besides Merlot, which thrives in the region’s terroir, serious wine drinkers should also look for local varietals such as Refosco, Schioppettino, and Pignolo, which pair well with red meat and pasta. Among these wines, Refosco is the most prized, as its bold flavors of plum and blackberry make it a real crowd pleaser.
Finally, we would be remiss if we failed to mention FVG’s natural and dessert wines. Natural wines are distinguished by long skin maceration times, which imbue the whites made via this method with a full-bodied flavor, great aging potential, and a distinctive orange hue. FVG’s dessert wines, which include Picolit and Verduzzo, are characterized by a perfect combination of sweetness and acidity, resulting in wines that pair beautifully with all types of cheeses, particularly Parmigiano Reggiano. For the wine drinker on the hunt for something different, the wines of FVG are definitely worth a try! –Words and translated by Adam Bruce

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