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Italy: Friuli Venezia Giulia

As far back as Roman times, these growing areas, stretching from the steep-sloped rive alte of the Isonzo river to the hills of the Collio, were renowned as mansi (vineyards) that could yield wines that were ottimo e vero, genuine and outstanding. One of the oldest inhabited Italian regions, it is believed that the first humans here dated back as much as 20,000 years ago.

Around 1000 B.C., the Illyrian built fortified villages creating a basic social structure, but with the arrival of the Romans, the land and society was restructured following the Roman model. They built roads, introduced new flora, parceled up the land for cultivation and founded cities, of which Aquileia is a valuable example that has survived to the present days.

Though the wines produced in this region represent only two percent of the Italy's production, to some they are comparable in quality to wine produced in Piedmont and Tuscany, the two most celebrated wine producing regions of Italy. The main difference between the regions is that Friuli Venezia Giulia wines are mostly white, though some exceptional red can be found as well.

The local wines are remarkable for the number of grape varieties that are used in their blends. In addition to the native grapes, different varieties have been introduced over time. Add to this the winemaking skills of the Friulani, and the result is the creation of exceptional wines.

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