In Focus, by Richard Sagala
In Schioppettino Veritas!
Have you ever wondered how much harm politicians can do (yes, even in the vineyards)?
Imagine this: the Schioppettino grape in the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia as recently as 1976 was an outlaw… To counter this, an emergency town meeting was held a year later in 1977 where a “save Schioppettino” motion got presented to reverse that situation and, fortunately, it did.
In the Rapuzzi family the grape had found its champion and, no later than 1977 (!) with their first bottling, schioppettino based wines were released and were met with instant success. Soon, other producers noticed… in other words, the Rapuzzis showed the way.
I had the pleasure recently of receiving a few bottles of the Ronchi di Cialla estate from Ivan Rapuzzi and can attest to the elegance and potential of the schioppettino grape.
This is a chiseled, fine bone structure wine, with aromas of black cherries, underbrush and green peppercorns. The mouthful is vibrant with fresh acidity and delicate fine grained tannins.
This wine is not heavy with alcohol. The alcohol @ 12,5% is just perfect to keep everything in balance.
Italy is a treasure trove of rare grapes varieties and there is so much to discover and appreciate there. If you ask yourself if you would like schioppettino based wines, let’s say this wine is easy to love and for all of you Pinot Noir fans, this wine should be right up your alley.
You will have to get used to the name of the grape though (it took me a bit of time to learn how to spell it without mistake) and, if you feel there is a little sound explosion when you pronounce the word schioppettino, it means that you frame it well since the word schioppettare means: to explode…
This 2011 vintage drinks well right now and I see many a wine pairings (poultry, veal and fish etc.) with such an authentically delicious wine.
Perhaps the most difficult part at the moment will be to find a bottle. It may require a bit of ingenuity.
Here in Canada no one imports it yet, but this will change pretty soon once I will have extended an invitation to the serious agencies that I know to come and taste…
Expect a price of a red Burgundy Premier Cru >$50.00 < $60.00