Schioppettino – Heirloom Red Wine of Friuli
Schioppettino is a marvelous red wine from the hills of Friuli. It is the perfect combination for the hearty red meats and wild game of Friulana recipes. In the 80s this wine was all but lost. There were even “Experts”, who I will leave unnamed, who promoted the expansion of the hybrid grapes over the “indigenous wines of little value.” Just seventeen years ago, the master sommelier considered Pignolo, Refosco di Faedis, Refosco di Rauscedo, Ribolla nera (Pocalza or Schioppettino), grapes of little value. I guess this should give an indication about how valid the international ratings are.
Schioppettino or Ribolla Nera is grown primarily in Prepotto, near Udine, and a small area around the little town in the hills of Friuli. This vine was almost extinct during Italy’s movement toward huge volumes, industrial processes, and lower quality wines of the 70s/80s. By the early 90s many of these industrialists saw their sales plummet and their companies bankrupt but the damage to the indigenous vines had already occurred. A few family owned wineries, relatively small in volume but big in expertise, including my favorite Ronchi di Cialla, kept the vines alive and did not follow the latest fad of the “Experts.”
Scoppiare means to explode. Schioppettino is the wine of a thousand little explosions. The fermentation of this heirloom red wine is completed in the bottle. This traps CO2 in the wine, similar to the Prosecco or Champagne processes, in the wine. This is a simple wine with bubbles and high acidity. It is produced in such limited quantities that few international importers will consider stocking this wine but its taste of wild berries and acidity make it a fresh compliment for Deer, Lepre, Wild Boar and other provincial recipes. A fantastic table wine with a reasonable cost, this can be an everyday choice for savory or gamey dishes.
Do not forget the “Festa del Schioppettino” held annually the last week in April!
Grape: Schioppettino also known as Ribolla Nera.
Color: bright red with a hint of violet towards the edge.
Bouquet: wild blackberry and raspberry.
Taste: dry, zesty, with low alcohol content, pleasant to drink, bubbly and inviting.
Alcohol Content: from 12.5 to 13.5 %
Serving Temperature: 16-18 c.
Pouring: No special indications.
Glass: Red wine glass.
Aging: This wine can age but is ready to drink once it hits the shelves.
Tags:Schioppettino Ribolla Nera Heirloom Wines Red Wine Italian Wine Friuli Sommelier Food and Wine Travel Italy