Livio Felluga Friulano 2017
Traditionally drunk as an aperitif in Friuli, this wine is a great match with prosciutto crudo, salami and other sliced meats. Also pairs pleasantly with fish dishes and fresh and fatty cheeses.
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The 500-acre Livio Felluga Estate includes 370 acres of rolling hillside vineyards in the Collio and Colli Orientali del Friuli. Friuli's temperate climate, protected by the Alps to the north and moderated by the Adriatic Sea to the south is a winemaker's dream. The sparse soil of marl and calcareous deposits is ideal for the white varieties, and also for their complex red wines.
Felluga does not believe in undistinguished, homogenous wine styles, but rather focuses on subtle, elegant expressions of wines made from grapes which have been grown in Friuli for centuries. Balance and clarity are the hallmarks of these wines, with minimum influence from oak and maximum freshness.
Viticulture has thrived in Colli Orientali del Friuli since the reign of ancient Rome and today its verdant, rolling hills support a long list of autochthonous varieties, each playing a unique and important role in the modern Colli Orientali wine scene.
The region is primarily recognized for its white wines. Its indigenous varieties of Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo, Picolit and perhaps most importantly, Friulano are made into single varietal wines or blended, and often blended with the international varieties of Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio and Pinot bianco. The latter have been flourishing in the area since the 1800s. But it wasn’t until the 1970s when producers started using cold fermentation techniques to produce fresh, fruity, crisp and aromatic whites that this area began to attract international attention.
While reds only make up about a third of the area under vine, Colli Orientali is home to some of Italy’s most exciting and rare red wines. Refosco, Schioppettino, Tazzelenghe and Pignolo are among the autochthonous varieties while Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir also have a stronghold.
Colli Orientali holds much in common with its neighbor, Collio; the only thing dividing them is a political line. Both are influenced by the cooling effects of the Julian Alps and moderated by the Adriatic Sea. A unique soil of alternating marine layers called flysch also dominates Colli Orientali, providing a mineral-rich environment for vine roots and optimal water drainage.
High-pitched and vibrant with a delicate perfume, Friulano thrives in the northeastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia near the border of Slovenia. The Friulano grown today, while named for its present home of Friuli, is actually the Sauvignonasse grape, a minor cultivar that came from Bordeaux.
Extensive in the area by the early 1930s, Friulano can be found in all major Friulian DOC zones: Colli Orientali, Collio, Grave del Friuli, and Isonzo. It is usually, but not always, bottled as a single-varietal wine, light in color and body. White peach, honeydew melon and citrus peel flavors prevail and its texture ranges from light and smooth to fresh and fine-grained. Contemplative aromas of jasmine, mint, ginger, almond and spicy herb can come into play.
Friulano wines are usually best when drunk young and make great starter picks or pairings for light courses. Try it with prosciutto and other delicate cold cuts as well as any dish including the earthy spice of horseradish.