Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Barolo

The north-eastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia ranks with Tuscany and Piedmont in terms of quality of output. Nearly 62% of the wine produced in the region falls under a DOC designation - there are 11 DOC and 3 DOCG regions.

The best vineyards in the region are in the foothills of the Alps, facing south to receive direct sunlight and cool evening breezes blowing off the Adriatic. The soil is rich in calcium and sandstone, with patches of sand and gravel.

The region's output is about 60% white and 40% red. Friulano is the most famous variety, known for creating crisp, floral whites with great ageing potential, and Merlot is the leading red wine grape. There has also been a revival of orange wine in the region of the past decade.
One of Italy’s most prestigious wine regions often referred to as “the Burgundy of Italy”. The now DOCG status region is renowned for producing some of Italy's finest red wines from 100% Nebbiolo.

The appellation of Barolo is located in the south of the state of Piedmont in the very north-west of Italy. The town of Barolo for which the region is named is located in the Monferrato foothills, which are a set of picturesque rolling hillsides and bordered to the north and west by the Tanaro River. The whole region sits about half-way between the major port of north-west Italy, Genoa to the south-east, and capital city Turin to the north-west. The heart of the Barolo vineyard zone, established in 1896, covers the parishes of Castiglione Falletto, Monforte d’Alba, La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba and Barolo itself, and is supplemented by parts of the townships of Novello, Verduno and Grinzane Cavour, added in 1934 to the official regional classification, and then by Diano d’Alba, Cherasco and Roddi added in 1966.

The wines made are typically fragrant and tannic with a depth of flavour and finesse like no other earning them the coveted title of ‘the King of Wines’ for centuries. Winemaking practices vary within the defined methods that the DOCG allows but there is a distinct modern and traditional divide in preferred styles.

The region has two major soil types - a sandy Tortonian marl producing a softer wine and a Helvetian sandstone clay that is known for a more robust style. The continental climate, with a long summer and late autumn enables the fickle grape to reach the perfect ripeness to create these stunning wines.

Records show that Nebbiolo has been grown in Piedmont since at least the 13th century, though despite this long history and the high quality of the wines it can produce, it is not grown in many other wine regions. For the grape grower and winemaker, making great wine out of Nebbiolo is a balancing act; it naturally possesses an incredibly high amount of acidity, and the thick skins transfer a huge amount of thick, chalky tannins into the wine. Balancing these two elements, as well as enticing out the enchanting ‘tar and roses’ notes from the grapes is the key to good Nebbiolo.
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