Friuli-Venezia Giulia is an Italian wine region that is located in the far northeastern corner of the country. Together with Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia comprises the “Tre Venezie.” Due to its geographic location, Friuli-Venezia Giulia has significant Slavic and German influences. At one point in its history, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and has always provided an opening to the sea for the nations of Central Europe.
Despite the presence of “Venezia” in its name, Venice is not part of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Instead, the regional capital is Trieste. To the north is Austria, to the east is Slovenia and to the south is the Adriatic Sea.
The history of Friuli-Venezia Giulia dates back to the Roman era when the city of Aquileia was the capital of the region. Today, it is still possible to see ruins from that city. During the Byzantine era, Friuli-Venezia Giulia was part of the Mediterranean spice route.
Overall, Friuli-Venezia Giulia boasts 11 DOCs and 3 DOCGs. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of all wine produced comes with a DOC designation. The most important wine areas include Collio Goriziano, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Isonzo and Carso. The best vineyards of Friuli-Venezia Giulia grown on the south-facing slopes of the Alps. There, they can maximize their exposure to sunlight and benefit from cool mountain breezes.
In terms of wine production, the split is 60% white and 40% red. The white wines are typically fruity with good acidity and typically are not aged in oak barrels. In that regards, the white wines of Friuli-Venezia Giulia have often been compared to those of Alsace and the Loire Valley in France. There are 30 different grape varietals found here, including all the most popular international varietals (Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). In addition, two local varietals – Friulano and Verduzzo – are particularly noteworthy. Friulano is famed for creating crisp, floral wines.
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