Grave del Friuli

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Grave del Friuli, vast doc zone in the friuli region of north-east Italy which sprawls across the southern portion of the provinces of Pordenone and Udine (with the largest portion in the former). This is flatland whose gravel- and sand-based soil has been deposited over the millennia by the many rivers and streams that cross the territory before adding their waters to the Adriatic. It owes its name to the same etymological root as the gravelly graves region of Bordeaux in France.

The DOC, with 4,300 ha/10,620 acres of vineyard, is responsible for more than 50% of Friuli’s output, and is so large (it includes seven out of the ten Friuli DOCs) that it is more akin to an igt than anything else. Exceptionally high permitted yields (13 tonnes/ha or 91 hl/ha) make it difficult to see how the DOC contributes to good-quality wine production here. And although it encapsulates other, smaller DOCs, their production rules are generally not much more restrictive so that Grave del Friuli cannot even be used by producers for declassified wines. Almost all international varieties are grown here, with piercingly herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc once being the DOC’s flagship but now encountering fierce international competition. That is not to say that the DOC is unsuitable for the production of high-quality wines, but its formidable size precludes generalizations.