Schioppettino: Everything You Need to Know

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Schioppettino is a dry Italian red wine packed with intense red fruit notes, like fresh cherries and strawberries, together with distinctive aromas of black pepper and violets. The refreshing acidity and high but fine tannins are balanced perfectly with medium body and alcohol. It pairs well with a variety of local delicacies and red meat dishes.

Native to the Colli Orientali del Friuli, it is the source of fine red wines for the region. The Schioppettino grape variety was almost extinct in the 20th century and survived due to the efforts of Paolo Rapuzzi, a local winemaker. Sometimes it is locally called Ribolla Nera, although it has no genetic relations with the other native variety, Ribolla Gialla.

Related: Primitivo Wine

2006 Bressan schioppettino ready to be opened
Photo credits to Moccasino

Wine description

Color

The red color of Schioppettino can vary in deepness from medium to deep. However, it is always bright ruby, sometimes with purple highlights. In that way, it can look like Cabernet or Syrah.

Nose

Schioppettino is aromatic and offers very complex aromas. The first impression is fruity with fresh cherry, strawberry. The second layer of aromas brings notes of black pepper and violets. Sometimes fine vanilla or clove can also be present.

The ruby red color of a schioppettino
Photo credits to Mecca Ibrahim

Taste

This is a medium-bodied red wine with bright acidity and fine tannins. The alcohol can vary from 12.5 to 14% and always brings good harmony. It is a dry wine that is very refreshing on the palate with bright fruit notes of raspberry and cherry. It usually ends with a long velvety finish.

Region

Schioppettino is a native grape of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of Italy. It is mainly grown along the eastern border of Italy, next to Slovenia. The region it thrives is called Colli Orientali del Friuli. These are west-facing picturesque rolling hills that have been growing grapes for centuries to produce quality wine. Unfortunately, production in neighboring Slovenia has almost disappeared today.

The Colli Orientali del Friuli are perfect for this variety. Rainfall falls during favorable times in the growing season and the warm western sun can help ripen the tannins, giving a velvety mouthfeel.

The vines of friuli venezia giulia where grapes can grow abundantly for harvest to be made into red wine.

Grape

Schioppettino is a grape with a long history in the region. Some mentions date back to the 13th century. However, it almost faced extinction after the attack of phylloxera in the region, where grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and other popular grapes were primarily planted. Local winemaker Rapuzzi revived the variety in 1972. It is now once again a well-reputed grape in the Collio area.

The traditional synonym Ribolla Nera is not widely used today as growers prefer to write Schioppettino on the labels. Usually, it is made as a single-varietal wine. However, some are blended with the other local red grape, Refosco.

The vines are grown in VSP systems and the grapes are thick-skinned and crunchy. It ripens later in the season, around mid-September to early October. The growing season is long, allowing for the development of a characteristic, rich flavor profile.

Grapes growing on the vine ready to be macerated and fermented

Process

The grapes are usually hand-picked. At the winery, color and tannin extraction is gentle, and techniques like “cold soak” are used to make the flavors more intense. They are generally aged in stainless steel tanks, although excellent barrel-aged examples are on the market. Drink it when it’s youthful to get the most of the bright aromas.

Food Pairings

Pay homage to its origin, Friuli Venezia Giulia, by pairing it with local delicacies.

Try prosciutto di San Daniele with a glass of slightly chilled Schioppettino. If you have a barrel-aged bottle, pair it with risotto Friulano.

If you really want to enjoy it like an Italian, try it with a classic Pizza Margherita.

Ideal serving temperature

For youthful wines, serve it slightly chilled at 53-60 F or 13-15 C. Barrel-aged examples can benefit from higher temperatures, ranging from 65-69 F or 18-20 C.

Try it out

Top examples

Schioppettino di Cialla Ronchi di Cialla: Ronchi di Cialla is the winery that brought the revival of Schioppettino vines back in 1972, saving the variety from extinction.

A rich example of this varietal that is destined for long aging. It has been aged in French oak barrels for 14-18 months and then bottle-aged for almost three more years! The current vintage on the market is 2015. Definitely one of the best examples out there!

Moschioni Schioppettino: This is another powerful example of the grape. Here the winemaker Valentino Moschioni is the second generation of the winery, working along with his sisters Sabrina and Alessia. This family-owned winery has excellence in mind.

With a complex aging regimen involving both small barriques and larger oak, the final product is intensely aromatic and complex. It has rich flavors and can pair excellently with red meat dishes.

Good values

Vigna Petrussa RiNera: You will notice that this is concentrated with fresh aromas of cherry, strawberry, and black pepper. All vintage wines have received several Italian awards. A fine DOC Friuli Colli Orientali wine with good value for money. 

Sirch Schioppettino: If you love a touch of oak but want to keep the price affordable, this bottle from Sirch can be perfect for you. Fresh and delicate, with slight vanilla notes and a smooth texture, it can please the most demanding palates.

Glassware

Drinking from a large bordeaux glass will open up the aromas from this red wine.

Since this is an aromatic red wine, a large Bordeaux glass, filled to a third, can bring out all the bright aromas for you to enjoy!

 

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Amanda Greene is a professional cook and a wine lover. She enjoys sharing her true love for wine with other hobbyists as well as beginners.

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