Friuli, a Wine Paradise Between the Alps and the Adriatic

Mariyam Seguías
Published in
4 min readFeb 22, 2021


Friuli-Venezia Giulia

I have seized this time of pandemic to explore the world from my living room. I have been traveling virtually to wonderful wine regions, meeting passionate wine producers and discovering new wines without leaving home.

I will be sharing these adventures with you. Let’s start with a virtual trip to Friuli guided by Michela Bianconi Felluga, manager of Castello di Buttrio, a women-run winery. Ready for take-off?

An Italian white wine heaven

Friuli-Venezia Giulia (or Friuli) is a wine region located in northeastern Italy, between Austria, Slovenia, the Adriatic Sea, and Veneto. The wine region has four DOCGs, twelve DOCs, and three IGPs.

The local vines benefit from both alpine snap and sea-breeze salinity, producing some of Italy’s most expressive white wines, typically refreshing with a delicate fragrance and floral flavor. 77 percent of wine from the region is white.

The grapes

The signature white is Friulano, a native varietal that ranges from light and crisp to rich and full-bodied. Other indigenous white grapes are Verduzzo, Ribolla Gialla, and the luxurious Picolit, a white that ranked as one of Europe’s finest sweet wines around 1800.

They also use non-traditional grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc Riesling, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio.

The region’s reds are also excellent. They tend to be traditionally light, fruity, and best enjoyed young. They are made using native varieties like Refosco, Schioppettino and Pignolo, but the world-famous Merlot is one of the most widely planted.

The Terroir

The most important influence on Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s vineyards is their position between the Alps and the Adriatic.

The mild climate allows for a long, slow growing season, balancing the grapes’ sugar and acidity levels. Across the region, the soil is comprised of limestone, marl, and sandstone, adding a mineral depth to white and red wines alike.

Castello di Buttrio, a women-run winery

Directly from a window of the Di Buttrio Castle, Michaella let us see, through the camera of her computer, the breathtaking landscapes of the land that her grandfather bought in 1994.

A land that today hosts a charming agritourism surrounded by beautiful vineyards.

At the head of the business is her mother Alessandra Felluga, who together with her and her two sisters successfully manage the winery.

The vines, cultivated around the castle on an area of about 10 hectares, date back to circa 1940. These old vines and their various native varieties reflect the history of Friuli wine.

The wines

The bottle labels of Castello di Buttrio wines enclose a universe of meanings linked to the identity of the territory where these wines are born.

Online tasting with Michela Bianconi Felluga

During the castle renovation works, salt for drying silkworms was discovered. This was the inspiration behind the minute details of the decorative background motif, based on the original Friulian textile tradition. The castle stands out in the center.

After a comprehensive overview of Friuli and Castello Di Buttrio, we tasted, together with Michaella, 4 of its most representative wines. Here the tasting notes:


Chardonnay is known for its versatility and here it acquires a remarkable character from the minerals in the soil of the Friuli’s hills.

Appearance: Straw yellow.

Nose: Temptingly elegant bouquet of melon and pineapple-led fruit with pleasing wafts of hawthorn.

Palate: Balanced and well-gauged acidity rounded off by a lingering finale.


Castello di Buttrio Monblanc is a compendium of Friulian viticulture in a judiciously gauged blend of native grape varieties. Friulano’s austere structure melds with the sun-kissed acidity of Ribolla Gialla and swathes itself in the full-bodied minerality of Malvasia Istriana.

Appearance: straw yellow.

Nose: fine and elegant, expressing delicate floral and fruity scents.

Palate: nice balance between fruity notes and pleasing crispness and long-lingering.


Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most unique grapes. Rich with fragrant treasures, it is an aromatic ecstasy of flowers, wild fennel, citrus and tropical fruit. Its unmistakable aroma makes you love it immediately and the warm pleasantness has earned it a strong backing of admirers. The roots, infiltrating the tiny cracks of the land along the Buttrio hills, saturate themselves of a mineral supply of extraordinary character, and its charm vibrates of hints of honeysuckle and white peach.

Appearance: Pale straw yellow

Nose: Very aromatic yet elegant with distinctive yellow peppers, sage, white peach, tropical fruits and melon

Palate: Full-bodied, elegant, velvety, with a good structure and a pleasing acidity.

Uve carate

Made from Merlot grape it’s an astonishing expression of a region that has always been associated with white wines. Uve Carate is a thick red of long-lasting emotions. It writes a text of the territory where it comes from, stately asserting its identity. It seduces the eyes with thick dark ruby color, inspires with its deep aromas reverberating of spices, peat moss and chocolate.

Appearance: Dark ruby red.

Nose: Currants, brambles and dried figs complement the coffee, chocolate and spice aromatics.

Palate: Fragrances and aromas come together on a rounded palate that flaunts complex, mouth-pervading tannins.

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Mariyam Seguías

Content creator | Wine lover | VP of Zurich Wine Festival | Founder of Zurich Wine Club