Friuli has been in the news a bit of late, courtesy of Fulvio Bressan, and for attitudes about race rather than their wines. Producers from the region, such as Schiopetto, deserve a different kind of attention.
But 'region' is a bit of a strange notion in this north eastern corner of Italy. Friuli is bound up in a partnership, as Friuli-Venezia Giulia, which in turn is a third of the Tre Venezie 'region', alongside Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol and the Veneto.
There are cultural threads linking these regions, including influences Slavic, Austro-Hungarian and Teutonic, which have had a bearing on the grapes grown and the wines made. Collio, where this Friulano wine from Schiopetto comes, is right up against the Italy-Slovenia border, in the foothills of the alps but with a maritime climate as well, being also close to the Adriatic. There are some red wines made in Collio, but white wines dominate, and white wines of richness, intensity and weight.
This wine is made from the Friulano grape and carries off its ripeness and driving weight well, but blends are common here too. Friulano, chardonnay, malvasia, ribolla gialla, pinot grigio, pinot bianco, sauvignon blanc - it is a rich palette for single variety or blended white wine making.
As complex and balanced as the blends can be, this was attractive drinking as a single-variety bottling, giving pear juice, lemons and an astringent lift on the finish. The 13% alcohol tucked itself in well on the first night, but started to show a little on a second day open as the fruit backed away. Made in stainless steel, the weight and power is pretty much all fruit here. The juice does see a little air early in the winemaking, which shows in the richer-yellow colour of the wine, but fruit wins out over winemaking.
A stirfry of asparagus and mushrooms, steak rested in good soy sauce, and fried rice made with pickled radish & sour-pickled mustard greens was a fair challenge for a wine, but this Friulano was up for it, being the pick of the table over a good 2011 Hunter shiraz. I have another bottle of this, which I reckon might be headed for a crumbed veal cutlet.
Well worth a look if you are interested in rich & full whites that are not reliant on oak input.
Purchase, $45, cork, 13% alcohol, website here, importer Deja vu Wine Company.