Saturday, December 25, 2010


Historically this varietal was typically planted on poor infertile soil thus creating smaller yields.  With a combined sensitivity to rot and disease floral abortion is very common giving this grape it’s name piccolo  (for small).  This varietal is very fragile and typically will create irregular bunches where you might find on average 10 to 15 grapes per bunch. 
Picolit makes a high viscosity wine with flavors of stone fruits, dried apricots, apples, and pears. 


I find it is mostly the more adventurous winemakers who use this grape to make more colorful wines from it.  A lot of times you will see this wine in the “orange” category.  It has a darker color than most white wines, and has flavors of apple cider, dried orange peel, and baking spice. Sound like a red huh?  It is also a white you can age for many years, taking on an interesting oxidative quality of almonds and a bit of saline.

Ribolla Gialla

The origin of this grape like many, is from the Greeks "Robola."  Ribolla Gialla makes wines on the crisp side, hints of apples, spices, and almonds. 

Pinot Bianco in Friuli

One of the many mutations from Pinot Noir.  This grape is kind of all over the place in terms of how it is going to taste, honestly it kind of has a mind of it’s own and you can open up one bottle and get rich minerality, citrus fruits, something super clean.  Then you can go to another bottle and get something fat, rich, tropical, and maybe think there might be some rs "residual sugar" but there is not.

Tocai Friulano

Known today as just Friulano, just a few years back the European Union decided that Italy’s varietal called Tocai would need to change it's name due to some confusion with Hungary’s grape/sweet wine/designation Tokaji.
The Tocai we know from Friuli produces a light and fragrant white wine that has a lot of citrus and tropical fruit flavors.  This grape really captures the soils that it is grown in, mimicking it with a refreshing minerality.  I highly recommend this wine for pick nicks. 


This grape is named after its temperament in the vineyards (fussy).  It is known for its uneven yields, but it creates a deep red wine, that is usually aged in oak and is well balanced with good acidity and tannin. The flavors of Pignolo are usually of plum and blackberry darker fruits.


An ancient Friulian varietal, this grape was nearly extinct due to phylloxera but made a huge comeback in the 1980’s when it became popular.  You will find that Schioppettino produces ripe and round wines, that will have a spicy bouquet, some game, and a rich ripe fruit flavor that will give this wine it’s finesse with some age.


A dark skinned grape that you also might find it as Teran or Terrano.  This grape makes a wine that is deep violet in color and has the flavors of plums and dark fruit, medium tannins and a bit of a bitter finish.

Merlot in Friuli

Merlot is the oldest varietal to date in Friuli.  Planted over 200 years ago this vine thrives the most for red grapes on Friulian soil.  (Fun fact Merlot means black bird in French because of the color of the skins being so dark, Quintarelli named one of his wines Ca del Merlo after some of the crows that hang out in his vineyards.) 
Tasting notes:
Dark berries, plum, currant, leafy greens, lower tannins, solid acidity


Friuli – Venezia Giuia /  Slovenia
Capital of Friuli is Trieste 
Situated in the northeast corner of Italy bordering Austria to the north, Slovenia to the east, with the Adriatic Sea, and Venice to the south this state has been captured and a huge part of many wars that have shaped the Friuli we know today.  Friuli was captured by Austira in World War one and was the frontline in the battle of Caporetto and were it not for Italian victory much of Friulin heritage may have been lost.  Still it was not until the Italian Independence war that Friuli regained it’s territory.  The aftermath of all this occupation has made Friuli one of the most diverse food and wine region in all of Italy.
Friuli is known for it’s rustic cooking.  It has a bounty of natural resources most notably its vast apple fields.  These are used to feed the pigs for San Daniele prosciutto that is then left to hang in the cool mountainous air. Also common are Apple Strudels that were brought by the Germans.  You will be able to find Montasio an aged semi hard cheese made from cow’s milk, loads of polenta, venison, rabbit, and other small game along with Cutlet fish and Branzino from the Adriatic.  In fact the abundance and variety of goods greatly influences Friulian cuisine as can be exhibited by Gubana, an ancient  pastry made from Hazelnuts, pine seeds, Almonds, and Macaroons, blended with Rum and Marsala. The great natural bounty also contributes to Friulian culture and customs.  Porcini hunting season is an important time for Friuians, so much so, they celebrate every year with a festival in September in Cosenza. 
Friuli has always been an active wine making region.  The native grape varietals Refosco, Schioppettino, Piclot, Tocai Friulano made up 100 percent of Friuli’s wine production until the late 19th century.  It wasn’t until Friuli was attacked by phylloxera (a small root eating insect) that native farmers decided it was time to bring in international varieties.  There reasoning was that international varieties would bring better quality to the wines, however the complete destruction of the native varieties left them little choice anyhow.  It is a good thing that the Friulian farmers decided to plant Merlot, once phylloxera got to Bordeaux the French had to re claim Merlot from Friulian clippings.

DOC/DOCG:(to name a few)

Collio di Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG: Picolit is the grape grown for this designation and is a super rare and hard to work with grape as discussed above.    These grapes are late harvested by hand and like Amarone placed on drying racks to wither up for three months increasing the sugar levels and flavor characteristics of the grape.

Carso DOC: Carso meaning “Land of rock” which refers to the limestone that has been broken and torn from many years of cultivation exposing this rock to the eye.  Carso is boarding Slovenia and its specialty is Refosco.

Collio Orientali del Friuli/Collio Goriziano/Brda: Collio meaning hills has a large range of mostly white wines that are produced in this vastly hilly area overlapping the Slovenian boarder.  Making this is an interesting Designation.  Made up mostly calcareous marl and sandstone we find ourselves situated half in Friuli and half in Slovenia.  The Italian half is known as Collio Orientali del Friuli to the north and Collio Gorziano to the south, more simply known as Collio with the Slovenian half is known as Brda.   This region in particular makes it difficult to know if a wine is Slovenian or Friulian and in many cases the vineyards overlap the countries boarder.  For example Movia has majority of his vineyards in Friuli but his mailbox is in Slovenia and his wines are labels Brda.