Friuli-Venezia Giulia has an area of 7,924 km2 and about 1.2 million inhabitants. A natural opening to the sea for many Central European countries, the region is traversed by the major transport routes between the east and west of southern Europe. It encompasses the historical-geographical region of Friuli and a small portion of the historical region of Venezia Giulia – known in English also as Julian March – each with its own distinct history, traditions and identity.
Collio and Colli Orientali del Friuli.
The southeast province of Gorizia is home to the DOCs of the Collio region, most notably Collio Goriziano. Part of the region's vineyards extend over the border with Slovenia but none of the Slovenian Wines can bear the designation Collio.
The area benefits from its location among the foothills of the Alps where the cool winds that come off the Adriatic moderate the climate. The cool air helps maintain the acidity levels in the grape. The region's best vineyards are found in the clay and sandstone soil around the comune of Cormons. The region is dominated by white wine production, making five times more white than red wine.
Collio wine is typically full bodied and rich, made as a varietal or blend of Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Chardonnay, Pinot bianco, Pinot grigio and Sauvignon blanc. Red wine under the designation Collio Rosso is made from a blend of Merlot, Cabernet franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The general Collio Bianco designation can also include the white grapes Müller-Thurgau, Picolit, Riesling, Traminer and Welschriesling as well as the white juice from the red wine grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot nero.
Located to the northwest of the Collio Goriziano, the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC shares similar vineyard soils and climate as the Collio region. The grape varieties are also similar though Ribolla Gialla and Picolit takes a more prominent role here as does the local grape Verduzzo.
The three grapes are used to make varietal wines under the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC.
Picolit is known particularly for the quality of the dessert wine it produces and has 2 DOCG dedicated to its production in Udine. Red wine production is also more prominent in this region though it is still less than half the production of white wine. The red wines include varietal forms of Merlot, Cabernet franc and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as red wines made from the local Pignolo, Refosco, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, Schioppettino and Tazzelenghe.
The region is divided into 3 sub districts which include Ramandolo in the north and the DOCG of the same name as well as the dessert wine Verduzzo di Ramandolo. In the center of the zone is the Cialla district which makes dry wines under the designation Cialla Bianco and Cialla Rosso as well as sweet and off dry wines made from Picolit and Verduzzo. Other notable wines from this district include Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Cialla Schioppettino. The far southern district is the Corno di Rosazzo which is heavily planted with Ribolla Gialla that is believed to have originated in the vineyards of the local abbey over 1000 years ago. The area is also known for its off-dry to sweet Rosazzo Picolit and dry Rosazzo Pignolo.
Isonzo and Carso.
The Gulf of Trieste borders the wester half of the Carso wine region and the southern portion of Isonzo.
The Isonzo and Carso wine regions are located in the far southeastern part of Friuli-Venezia Giulia bordering Slovenia. The Isonzo region is located on a plain of alluvial deposits directly south of Collio along the Isonzo river. The best vineyards are located in the northeast, close to Cormons.
The wine regions predominately have a maritime climate with more rainfall than other Friuli regions. The region is known for its sparkling Pinot bianco as well as dry white wines made from Chardonnay, Malvasia Istriana and Sauvignon blanc. Other Isonzo DOC designated wines include dry, off dry and sparkling wines made from Gewürztraminer, Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Franconia, Moscato Giallo, Moscato Rosa, Pinot grigio, Pinot nero, Refosco, Riesling, Schioppettino, Friulano, Verduzzo and Welschriesling. The Vendemmia Tardiva is a late harvest wine made from a varietal style or blend of Chardonnay, Pinot biano, Friulano and Verduzzo.
Located south of the Isonzo zone, near the city of Trieste, is the Carso zone. Situated on the Istrian Peninsula, the wine region has a maritime climate that is well suited to production of the local Terrano used to make red wine. Wines made from this grape are known for their high acidity and good food pairing with Slavic cuisine. The white wines made from the Malvasia Istriana are highly regarded for their honey-almond notes. Other Carso wines can be made from the following grapes; Vitovska, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot grigio, Sauvignon blanc, Traminer and Piccola nera.