The structured, elegant wines of Collio prove that Italy can make serious whites. Located in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Collio’s ideal growing conditions include hillside vineyards with sharp changes in day and night temperatures that generate complexity and depth of aromas. Soil is another key factor: Layers of marl and sandstone—known locally as ponca—impart salinity and a mineral edge to the wines.
Both native and international varieties excel in the area. Friulano is the most widely planted indigenous grape in the denomination. It boasts full-bodied wines with flavors of yellow apple, pear and almond, with some producers fermenting and aging in wood for added complexity.
Ribolla Gialla makes crisp, linear wines that offer yellow flower, stone fruit and citrus sensations. A few producers make more complex Ribolla thanks to extended skin contact.
Malvasia, one of the least planted grapes, makes savory, full-bodied wines with finesse and crisp acidity. These wines typically carry heady tones of pear, golden apple, yellow peach and white pepper.
Pinot Grigio has been cultivated in the area since the mid-19th century and is the most planted grape in the denomination. Many of them have copper highlights, the natural color of the juice after brief contact with the skins during pressing.
The region is also known for its savory Sauvignon. These structured wines carry loads of tomato vine, elderflower and crushed herb tones over a core of ripe peach.
The area’s Pinot Bianco is smooth, rounded and polished. When aged in large barrels, they gain further complexity.
Collio Chardonnays combine body, finesse and drinkability. They’re more structured than options from other parts of northern Italy and more elegant than those from warmer growing areas in the south.
Have fun exploring the diversity of Collio!