Schioppettino is a red wine grape native to Italy which is grown in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Virtually extinct by the 1970’s, Schioppettino was revived in large part by the Rapuzzi family, owners of the Ronchi di Cialla estate, who were also vital in getting this grape recognized by the DOC. The word Scoppiettare means “to explode”, so the grape’s name may refer to an explosion of flavour or a propensity for the wine to referment and explode in the bottle in earlier days. It is also called Ribolla Nera and Pocalza or Pokalça in Slovenian.

Where grown: Primarily in Friuli Colli Orientali DOC, especially the Cialla and Prepotto subzones.

Viticulture: Schioppettino’s susceptibility to both millerandage and downy mildew contributed to low yields and its near extinction. Schioppettino’s tendency to ripen late was also a negative, given that in Friuli-Venezia Giulia cool, rainy autumns are the norm and can threaten crops.

Wine style: Normally medium-bodied, high in acid, with aromas and flavours of black currant, black cherry, and characteristic green peppercorn. With age, may develop underbrush and tar notes. Highly producer dependent, Schioppettino can range from the typical medium-bodied version to high-alcohol wines made from dried grapes. The latter technique is employed when optimal ripeness is not achieved to avoid a vegetal streak. Prepotto and Albana, areas with warmer days and cold nights yield more fragrant, slightly bigger bodied, richer wines than those of Cialla, where cooler climes usu- ally produce well-balanced, midweight wines, with high acidity. The best examples are quite complex with a blend of wild, dark berries, dried plums, cocoa, tar, tobacco, cinnamon, dried herbs and balsamic notes.

Bibliography

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.134-5.