There is so much more to Italy than Piedmont and Tuscany so we decided that part one of our En Primeur Offers should focus on the wines of North East Italy, and specifically some of the most iconic estates in Friuli. Bordering Slovenia to the east, and Austria to the north, this part of Italy is mostly renowned for its top-class, age worthy whites. However, thanks to global warming as temperatures have risen over the last decade or so, and with improvements in viticulture and vinification practices, in the right hands, the reds are also very exciting. As a region, it is unique in its ability to produce top wines from both indigenous and international grape varieties. Merlot has been grown here for over 130 years! Friulano (known as Tocai Friulano until 2006) is a grape variety that I had struggled with until I had some great ones – there are many tasteless or overly alcoholic examples – but handled well, it can offer an outstandingly authentic vinous experience. Friuli Venezia Giulia is certainly where you will discover Italy’s best Sauvignon Blancs. You will also find Italy’s best Chardonnays, a grape that Italy does not often do well. Friuli has a distinctly Mediterranean climate and wine-growing here is marked by the meeting of sea, mountains, rain and wind (both humid from the sea and the bracingly cold continental ‘Bora’ wind). Its signature soil Ponca (calcareous marl and sandstone) is partly responsible for its top wines, which contains marine fossils that originated in what is now the Adriatic Sea. This prized soil has a high pH enabling the grapes to retain acidity, which helps to balance their alcohol and concentration and produces wines that are textured and concentrated.
Most of these wines remain relatively off the beaten track and if you do not know them, I urge you to sample something new to discover for yourself the heights that Friuli is capable of.
Philippa Saunders, Italy Buyer
Special Tasting Case
Available for immediate delivery. This special sample case of North East Italian wines contains 1 bottle of each of the following wines:
– I Clivi –
– Borgo del Tiglio –
2107 Chardonnay Selezione
– Le Due Terre –
2014 Sacrisassi Rosso
2014 Pinot Nero
£160 for 6 bottles, including all taxes & free delivery in Mainland UK.