So you have decided to go to Fruili-Venezia Giulia in northeastern Italy. Who could blame you for abbreviating it as Fruili? You might be attracted by the Alps to the north or the Adriatic Sea to the south. You might visit the port city of Trieste, once the port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire whose cession to Italy in 1954 marked the end of World War II. This is white wine country, producing some of Italy’s finest, but you won’t have trouble finding reds. Fruilians will tell you that their ham, Prosciutto di San Daniele, is the finest in Italy and many will agree.
Would you believe that the region has been producing Merlot for some two hundred years? Chardonnay is a newcomer, basically going back to the 1960s. Some of the best Pinot Grigios come from Friuli. Try local grape varieties such as the white Picolit that makes some fine dessert wines and the red Refosco and Schioppettino grapes. If you are up to it, see if the Tazzelenghe lives up to its name, tongue-cutter because of its highly tannic wines.
Major Fruili festivals include Carnevale in February and a Mushroom Festival in the medieval, almost tourist untouched city of Udine, the largest city in the Friuli section of the region; the Prosciutto Festival in San Daniele del Friuli during the last week of August; and the Palio of Saint Giusto in Trieste in September.
Companies that offer wine tours of Fruili include Alabaster and Clark Wine Tours Worldwide, Discover Fruili, and Le Baccanti. Friuli wineries that offer visits include Abbazia di Rosazzo in Rosazzo, Marco Felluga in Gradisco d’Isonzo, and Venica & Venica in Dolegna del Collio which is equipped to house vacationers. A few words of warning are in order. Make sure that you check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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Wine tours, wine vacations, wine holidays in Friuli, Italy