Refosco (more accurately pluralized as the Refoschi) is an ancient group of closely related dark-skinned grape varieties. Their origins – which pre-date modern-day political borders – include northern Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia, western Slovenia and the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia.
Because of their age and geographical spread, the Refoschi have many different sub-varieties and synonyms. A 2005 study combining ampelography and DNA profiling identified six distinct varieties.
Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, which translates to "Refosco with the red stems", is broadly considered as the star of the group, with its chief expressions coming from Friuli's Colli Orientali DOC. The wines here have striking fruit intensity, laced with minerality and tart acidity.
Also, in Friuli, the DOC of Carso grows Terrano, which was previously thought to be a synonym for Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. Though, DNA research has shown that it is actually identical to Refosco d'Istria, and Teran in the Istra region of Croatia. Across the border in Slovenia's Kras region, the Refosk grape variety has the same DNA profile as Terrano. These wines are given very long maceration periods i.e. up to two years and plenty of time to mature in cask and bottle before being released, resulting in a more opulent style of wine.
In general, and across the group, Refosco wines have particularly high acidity and are mostly dark and densely coloured with violet and grassy aromas. Flavours of dark peppery spices and plums ample on the palate and the wine often display a slightly astringent, almond-skin finish on the palate. Refosco is a late ripener, and if harvested too early, can produce harsh, unripe tannins.
Cured meats, game, roasted fare and spiced dishes work well with this richer, fuller-bodied red. Some of the ideal food matches to try with Refosco are Beef bourguignon, Moussaka, Braised beef cheek with chilli and lime.
Source(s): wine-searcher, winefolly