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DOC area (also Friuli Colli Orientali) for red and white wines in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region; close to the border with Slovenia and Austria. The name means "eastern hills of Friuli". To the south, the Collio Goriziano DOC area in the province of Gorizia (Gorizia) is bordered by the Judrio river. Both geologically similar areas were once part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. However, while Udine became Italian as early as 1866, Gorizia did not join Italy until after the First World War in the early 1920s.
The zone comprises the hilly area in the eastern part of the province of Udine with 14 municipalities grouped in a crescent shape around the city of Udine. These are Attimis, Buttrio, Faedis, Cividale, Corno di Rosazzo, Manzano, Nimis, Povoletto, Prepotto, Premariacco, San Pietro al Natisone, San Giovanni al Natisone, Tarcento and Torreano. It extends in the form of a long chain of hills on the edge of the Udine plain from Buttrio in the south to Tarcento in the north. The vineyards, most of which are terraced, cover about 2,100 hectares of vineyards on calcareous marl and sandstone soils at an altitude of 100 to 350 metres above sea level. They are protected from the cold north winds by the Julian Prealps, while the mild air from the Mediterranean creates a very favourable microclimate for wine growing.
The large area is structured in five subzones with three DOCG areas. The Cialla subzone covers an area north of the municipality of Prepotto. The two subzones Ribolla Gialla di Rosazzo and Pignolo di Rosazzo cover parts of the municipalities of Corno di Rosazzo, Manzano and San Giovanni al Natisone in the province of Udine with the Rosazzo DOCG area. The Schioppettino di Prepotto subzone covers part of the municipality of Prepotto. The Refosco di Faedis subzone includes sub-areas of the municipalities of Attimis, Faedis, Nimis, Povoletto, Tarcento and Torreano with the Ramandolo and Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit DOCG areas.
The subzones may be indicated on the label after the DOC name for certain types of wine. For the subzones Ribolla Gialla di Rosazzo, Pignolo di Rosazzo, Schioppettino di Prepotto and Refosco di Faedis (Refosco Nostrano = Refosco di Faedis) there is only one wine, and the grape variety is included in the name. In the Cialla subzone, however, there are the wine types Bianco, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo Friulano, Rosso, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Schioppettino. For wines with at least 24 months of ageing, the designation Riserva can be used. This is at least 50 months for the wines of the Cialla subzone, 46 months for the Schioppettino di Preppoto subzone and 38 months for the Refosco di Faedis subzone.