Schiopettino (meaning "gunshot" or "little crack", also known as "Ribolla Nera") is a red Italian wine grape grown predominantly in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. The grape is believed to have originated between the comune of Prepotto and the Slovenian border where records of the Schiopettino wine being used in marriage ceremonies date to 1282. The grape was nearly lost to extinction following the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century when vineyard owners decided against replanting the variety in favor of French wine grapes like Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot gris, Sauvignon blanc and Merlot. Some isolated plantings continued to exist till a 1978 European Union decree encouraged its planting in the province of Udine
The name of this vine, which risked extinction after the phyllossera epidemic of the early 1900s, it is believed to derive from the characteristic of the grapes, which are so tightly filled to "explode" (schioppettare) in the mouth. This vine is part of the Ribolla family type, in fact, it is know also as Ribolla Nera (Black Ribolla), and, across the Slovenian border, Pocalza. The place of origin of this vine is in fact in the area of Prepotto and cross the Slovenian border. Mention of this wine is found in documents dating back to 1282, when it was poured at the Rieppi-Caucig wedding, in Prepotto.
The modern Schioppettino is a ruby red colored wine which turns to garnet-red with ageing. The rich perfume is reminiscent of fruits and in the mouth it is full, typical and dry
Today the grape is found mostly in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and Slovenia. It is used most notably in the wines from Prepotto, Colli Orientali del Friuli Rosso, Cialla Schioppettino and Isonzo Rosso. The grape has recently gone to the United States, being planted in the California wine region of Sonoma County
Viticulture and winemaking
Today the Vitis vinifera grape is a prominent planting in the Colli Orientali del Friuli Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) where it produces very aromatic, medium bodied wines with Rhône-like qualities of deep dark coloring with violet, raspberry and pepper notes. In addition to thriving in the Prepotto area, the grape also seems to do well in the Buttrio-Manzano area. The grape's high acidity and low alcohol levels bodes well for a semi-sparkling style that is mostly consumed domestically and rarely exported.
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