While Italy is frequently lauded for its red wine, Fruili has led the charge in high quality white wine production for decades. Nestled at the crook of Italy's eastern shoulder, bordering Slovenia, Friuli has quite of bit of viticultural overlap with the Balkans. Its former membership in the Austro-Hungarian empire gave it significant central European cultural influence as well. Friuli is fortunate to have both coastal influence from the Adriatic as well as well as the Alps, leading to a wide variety of micro-climates, but consistently long, mild growing seasons.While French red varietals are grown in the Southwestern portion of the region, the white wines of Colli Orientali del Friuli and Colli Goriziano DOCs are what give Friuli its reputation. Friuliano is the primary grape in both Colli DOCs, though Orientali del Friuli also known for its dessert wines and reds. The most important grapes in Friuli are Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo, Chardonnay, Picoli, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Red Bordeaux varietals are common, with Merlot the most widely planted, though local reds made from Refosco and Schioppettino are distinctive and delicious, not to mention popular amongst Sommeliers. Two DOCGs exist for dessert wine, Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit and Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit-Cialla. These overlap with the Orientali del Friuli DOC. In contrast to the rustic, tradition focused wine making throughout Italy, Friuli is best known for forward thinking wine making and technological progress, with the aim of producing the freshest, most transparent white wines possible.