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The mountainous region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is located in the most northeastern tip of Italy, bordering Austria and the former Yugoslavia. Wine has traditionally played a significant role there, due to its important location and contacts with overseas trading partners. Over the centuries, the region has built up a very good reputation among wine connoisseurs. Today the region has 2 major DOCs, that of the Collio Goriziano, or simply Collio, an area that covers a large part of the region, and that of the Colli Orientali del Friuli, north of the city of Udine. Both DOCs include red, white and rosé wines. In addition, there are 8 smaller DOCs and the region recently obtained DOCG status for the Ramandolo. A sweet golden yellow wine with a minimum alcohol content of 15%, produced in the province of Udine from Verduzzo Friulano.

Vineyards

A total of 19,000 acres are planted with blue and white grapes. Although the soil and climate are very suitable for the production of white wines from both international (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon) and indigenous grape varieties (Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Tocai Friulano and Picolit), the region also produces some good red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Refosco and Schioppettino. These last two grape varieties can produce very intense wines that are suitable for drinking with stews, game dishes and various mature cheeses.

The vineyards of the DOC Isonzo del Friuli are mainly located along the river of the same name, practically from Gorizia to its mouth in the Adriatic Sea. The landscape here is flat and the soil is clayey. Fragrant white and red wines are produced from Tocai, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot and Cabernets respectively.

The area where one of the strangest wines of Friuli is made is the area around Trieste. A strong red Refosco wine is made here on a calcareous soil. The high acidity is highly appreciated by the locals, but can often seem sharp to untrained taste buds. The wine smells of wild flowers and berries and works well as an accompaniment to various stews (often consumed in the region with goulash).

Grapes

International grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinots and Merlot set the tone in the wine production of the DOC Grave del Friuli. The soil here, just like in the 'Graves' of Bordeaux, is richly strewn with boulders, which have the property of storing heat and releasing it to the vines at night. The most prized vineyards are located on the so-called 'magredi' (poor soil). The white wines that come from there can be remarkably fruity and fresh, while very beautiful and soft Merlots are also made as well as robust Cabernet and Refosco wines.

Wines

The main wine production takes place in the southeast of the region. Under the DOC Friuli Annia, mainly white wines are made on the sandy clay soil, but also some red wines. Both from international and indigenous grape varieties. The same applies to the wines under the DOC Friuli Aquileia where the production of white wine is dominated by the Pinot's and the red by the Merlot, which produces light soft wines. Schioppettino wines are generally more powerful in character and can be kept longer.

The wine made under the DOC Lison Pramaggiore, in the southwestern part of the Region, shares its DOC with the Veneto. Red wines are made mainly from Merlot and Refosco and white wines from Tocai and Sauvignon, among others.

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