Never Heard of This One? New to Me Grapes of Friuli

I’m actually already a member of the Wine Century Club and am loosely working on making it to 200. How could I have had so many different grapes you say? Italy! There are over 800 grape varieties in Italy, most of them never even make it to the US, Italy keeps them to itself. But since I had the pleasure of attending the Cividale sponsored trip to Friuli, I was able to taste a few new to me grapes.

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Friulano — Originating in Friuli, this grape is white and produces a straw yellow colored wine with hints of green. An unmistakeable aroma of tart green apple and almonds fills the nose and the palate. Medium acidity and a long finish round out this wine Best drunk while young, if aged in wood, can sit for years.

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Ramandolo — This ancient Friulian grape was the first in Friuli to receive the DOCG designation. Deep golden yellow in color with a distinct nose of honey. Full-bodied and semi-sweet in flavor, this white wine has a bit of a tannic bite.

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Refosco — There are actually 5 families of Refosco as listed in the 1823 audit commissioned by Arch Duce Francesco Carlo of Austria of the varieties that were present at the time. Deep red in color when young, but turns more garnet with age. The nose on this wine gives you everything! Violets, roses, spice, coffee, blackberry, herbs all leading into an equally exciting and complex palate.

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Ribolla Gialla — Another indigenous Friulian wine whose cultivation can traced back to the 14th century! Straw yellow in color, this white gives off a floral bouquet along with some nuttiness and oak. The zest on palate is surprising as it would seem that the flavors would be softer, creamier. But what this dry, zesty wine lacks in creaminess it packs in acidity and is quite pleasing.

Now here’s the thing, and don’t be mad at me, but I’m not sure how many of these you’ll be able to taste here in America. So….guess that means a trip to Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is in order!!