"MEN ARE LIKE WINE, SOME TURN TO VINEGAR, BUT MOST IMPROVE WITH AGE".
POPE JOHN XIII
VISIT THE WINE REGION OF COLLIO, THINK TUSCANY BUT WITHOUT THE HASSLES THAT COMES ALONG WITH MASS TOURISM.
Visit rolling hills covered with cypress, enjoy excellent wines, and ride around on a rented bright yellow Vespa or drive your own car. After every bend in the road is another stunning view and another winery to stop at to taste its wonderful local wines.
THE WINE REGIONS OF FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA
THE WINES OF FRIULI HAVE BEEN APPRECIATED FOR CENTURIES
The region Friuli Venezia Giulia produces excellent white and red wines that have been exported since the Middle Ages, first only in Europe and now across the entire globe. Many emperors and kings in the past have enjoyed them. The Romans appreciated the wine a lot, and it is said that Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus, owes her respectable age to the red wine 'Pucinum'. Nowadays it is called 'Terrano' and is produced in the wine region 'Carso', where the roots of the grapevines manage to work their way through the rugged karst rock.
More than half of the region consists of wine regions. In total there are eight of them. Each area is unique because of the different characteristics of each area’s soil (pebbles, sandstone, marl, earth, clay, and karst rock) and location (flat land, hilly areas, close to the sea, or near a river). The most common areas are Collio and the adjacent Colli Orientali. Here the grapevine covered hills benefit from plenty of sunshine, cool temperatures from the Gulf of Trieste and cool winds arriving from the Alps. This region produces mostly white wines. Winemakers from Colli, Orientali and Collio like to experiment and are among the most advanced winemakers in Italy. They were the first to put a single grape in a bottle. The 'Refosco dal Peduncolo rosso' or the 'Pignolo' varieties can’t be found anywhere else in Italy.
THE AUTHENTIC FRIULAN WINES
These two wine areas produce proportionally the most authentic Friulian wines. What about the dry 'Tocai' (nowadays called Friulano because of competition with the Hungarian Tokaj), the delicious 'Ribolla', the spicy 'Malvasia', the sweet 'Verduzzo'? All of these wines can be drank with a dessert, as well as, a fish dish. Not only are there authentic wines produced here but also the famous Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, originally coming from the countries north of the Alps, but they found here their ideal natural living conditions.
IMAGINE YOURSELF BEING IN TUSCANY BUT WITHOUT THE MASS TOURISM
As I wrote earlier, the Collio area is very famous. Here you feel like you're really on vacation. You will see rolling hills with peaks covered with the characteristic cypresses, images you normally relate to when you think of Tuscany or Umbria. If you come in the spring the landscape is scattered with pink cherry trees in bloom. Drive on winding country lanes, each with a beautiful new view, and choose from many different wineries. Make a stop and try the delicious wines yourself and don't forget to take a bottle home with you. The ideal holiday gift or souvenir is a bottle of Friuli wine. Many wineries give you the opportunity to stay the night, which is always handy in case you look too deep into the glass....
RENT A YELLOW VESPA AND GO FOR A DRIVE!
For several years now, driving through this beautiful area has become even more fun. Twenty wineries offer the option to rent a bright yellow 'vespa'- the typical Italian scooter. The yellow represents the color of the sun, energy, and of course their wines. You can recognize the wineries participating in this initiative by a kind of totem pole that sits at their entrance. If you prefer to rent a Vespa for yourself, then go to the official rental Zorgniotti. You can find them at Via Vino della Pace, 18 in Cormòns. Their phone number is +39 0481 60595
CORMONS THE HABSBURG PEARL IN THE COLLIO REGION
In the midst of the rolling countryside you will find the town of Cormòns - a Habsburg gemstone in the heart of the Collio. Once this town was part of the Habsburg Empire, just like Gorizia and Trieste. You can see this in the neoclassic building style and the statue of the Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg in the main square. Cormòns is not big but is very intimate and has a central position, ideal to visit in a few hours.
You would not even know that this town in the year 628 was an important seat for the Patriarch for more than a century. A religious figure directly chosen by the Pope and more important than an archbishop. He held his religious power over a very large area. He chose this place as the center of this area because of its strategic position and lived in the fortress that was built by the Lombards, but I think the reason he chose Cormons was not only therefor.....
If you haven't had the chance to visit the wineries, go directly to the local wine shop "Enoteca di Cormòns" at Piazza XXIV Maggio number 21. Here you will find the best local DOC wines of the Collio and Isonzo area and they don't only have wines. Are you hungry? Try their specialty, a traditionally prepared smoked ham, so you can continue your exploration of the Collio area with a full stomach and continue your wine tasting in this beautiful wine region. And ... don't forget to return your vespa after all that tasting!
A FULL LIST OF ALL THE WINERIES:
Click on this link to go to the site of Collio to get the full alphabetized list of wineries.