- Q & A
Italy - Friuli
Much of the land of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is no more than gently undulating; it is only at its eastern boundary that a major hill ridge appears. Like Trentino-Alto Adige, the wines are made from a significant number of single varieties. The wines of the region are, however, broader, gentler, with more pervasive flavors. Until recently, the white wines were far superior to the reds, but efforts have been made to improve the red wines, with good results.
Wines from the hill ridge are named precisely for where they come from: Collio Goriziano, Colli Orientali del Friuli and Grave del Friuli and Carso. Apart from the more internationally known varieties, grapes that typify the region are the red Refosco and the white Ribolla, Verduzzo and, for sweet wine, Picolit. Fine estates are numerous but the wines of Jermann, Puiatti and Schiopetto each have a particular style that puts them just ahead of the others.
Most wines are labeled by the varietal. The best whites are Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Tokai Friulano and a few outstanding Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Muller-Thurgau. The reds tend to be lighter, but flavorful. The best are Merlot and Cabernet Franc and the local Refosco.