Friuli Venezia Giulia – Land of great white wines

Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of Italy’s leading wine-producing areas, with around 20,000 hectares of vineyard, and an annual production of 100 million bottles of wine.  There are nine DOC and DOCG zones and a wide variety of largely indigenous grape varieties.  One of the grape  varieties found commonly in Friuli is that previously called Tocai Friulano.  With the accession of Hungary to the EU,  and as with  Tokay Pinot Gris in Alsace, the Tokay name has become reserved for the fabulous sweet nector of the Tokay region of north east Hungary.  Alsace coped with this fairly easily - they could just drop the "Tokay" descriptor and be left with pinot gris.  But if the Friulans dropped the now forbidden word, they'd be left with just Friulano, which would just mean "of/from Friuli"  - it would be unusual to call a grape after a region, and I seem to recall there was some Italian legal difficulty over this, which left producers with the option of making a vino senza nome or ploughing on with the  Friulano name.  The grape is,  by the way,  that known as sauvignonasse in France and elsewhere.  But the best expression of the grape comes from Friuli.


2006 Friulano, Ferrucio Sgubin, DOC Collio, 13.5%
This has an elegant floral nose, but is a bit rough and ready and rustic on the palate, with some very concentrated fruit – a bit too concentrated.  83/100

2007 Friulano, Vigneti Sant’ Helena, Fantinel, DOC Collio, 13%
An attractive floral nose with some pear fruit.  Much nicer on the palate than the Sgubin.  Very attractive, friendly and clean.  90/100

2007 Zabura Tocai Friulano, Skok, DOC Collio
This feels a touch extracted on the nose.  It’s also got an extracted feel on the palate.  It’s very concentrated and feels a bit overdone to me.  85/100

2007 Friulano, Tenuta di Blasig, DOC Friuli Isonzo, 12.5%
A lovely fresh, floral nose.  Nice palate.  There’s some depth, but it retains the lightness on the palate, and the fragrance.  Very Good Indeed.  91/100

2007 Friulano, Roberto Scubla, DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli, 13.5%
A fresh clean nose with nice white flowers and a hint of pear drops.  There are pear drops on the palate too.  It has some interesting flavours, but it really needs food to help it, I think. 86/100

2007 Friulano Casali Aurelia, Azienda Vitivinicola Lino e Federico Filippi, DOC Friuli Annia, 12.5%
This has a nice crisp freshness on the nose.  Similar on the palate: very clean and crisp.  Some Montasio cheese really brings it out of its shell.  89/100

2007 Friulano, Tenuta Beltrame, DOC Friuli Aquileia, 13%
A very clean, fresh nose with some zesty minerality.  Very nice palate.  Nice balance of fruit, acidity and minerality.  91/100

2007 Friulano Selenze, La Tunella, DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli, 13%
A light fresh minerally nose with a bit of gooseberry fruit.  Clean, refreshing palate, finishing very nicely with pear and white pepper flavours.  91/100

2007 Friulano Taj Blanc, Villa de Puppi, IGT Venezia Giulia, 13%
This has a lovely fresh nose with a nice complexity of fruit aromas.  Quite rich and full on the palate, almost with a touch of residual sugar.  Quite different in style to the other tocai friulano wines (is that why it’s an IGT?).  Unusual and interesting.  90/100

2007 Friulano, Isola Augusta, DOC Friuli Latisana, 13.5%
A fresh and lightly citrussy nose.  Very nice palate: clean, fresh and with a nice minerality.  Pretty high acidity gives it an interesting lift.  89/100

2007 Friulano Superiore, Az. Agr. Foffani, DOC Friuli Auileia, 13%
This has nice clean, fresh pear fruit on the nose, with an interesting floral note.  Very nicely integrated and balanced on the palate.  92/100

Finally, as a relief from all the friulanos, a small selection of sweet wines from Friuli:

2006 Ramandolo, Az. Agr. Toblâr, DOCG Ramandolo, 15%
A fresh pear-y nose, but with an odd hint of meths.  Pretty basic on the palate.  Quite lifted and with highish acidity, which balances the richness.  A bit unsatisfying.  82/100

2005 Ramandolo passito, Andrea Cornelli, DOCG Ramandolo, 15%
A completely and utterly different nose to the Toblâr Ramandolo: a bit dulled, but with scents of apricots and nuts.  Fairly unusual palate.  Not especially sweet.  A bit odd.  84/100

2006 Picolit, La Tunella, DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli, 13.5%
A lovely floral nose with a sweet candied elegant scent.  Lovely palate.  Very elegant and clean.  A touch of acidity is noticeable on the finish.  92/100


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Last updated: 27 April 2009