Vigna Petrussa Schiopettino di Prepotto
Schioppettino was all but lost when Phylloxera hit. No longer on the list of authorized grapes when it was found in the 1970s, it had to be grafted in secret. But Paolo Rapuzzi did graft them, and soon this grape native to this region was thriving again. After the Mayor when to bat for this grape, it was finally approved in 1981. In 1997 Schioppettino di Prepotto became a DOC as a sub-zone in Friuli Colli Orientali.
The word “Schioppettino” means “crackle.” I remember learning that the word meant “gunshot” or “Little crack” again from the popping corks. Perhaps this is because it was thick-skinned and would crackle and pop in your mouth or because its high acid caused malolactic fermentation in the bottle, making it “pop” its cork.
This wine is known for notes of violet and pepper. It is typically deeply colored.
Hilde Petrussa loves the schioppettino variety. She was part of the resurgence of Schioppettino di Prepotto, co-founding the Association of Schioppettino Producers of Prepotto, and was the first President of the Association. She helped to create the agreed-upon production specifications. In 2008 the Prepotto region was granted Cru status for Schioppettino under the Friuli Colli Orientali DOC.
She now creates 4 styles of Schioppettino di Prepotto
Schioppettino RiNera, is vinified in Stainless Steel. This style takes the rich Schioppettino and makes it lighter and easier to drink. With notes of green peppercorns and flavors of raspberry, the RiNera is a wine that can be served in the summer, slightly chilled.
Schioppettino Prepotto is aged 24 months in large wooden barrels with indigenous yeast. This wine has pepper and red fruit and is heavier in body than the RiNera, with more depth and complexity.
Schioppettino Prepotto Riserva spends 36 months in Tonneau. Made only in exceptional years, this wine has a more elegant structure. You find notes again of black pepper, but the fruit is deeper, leaning into plum tones.
Perla Nera – The Black Pearl. Made in the sweet style of Schioppettino that Francesca’s grandfather made, the grapes are hand harvested in small wood baskets and dry for one to one and a half months, in the appassimento style, with natural ventilation. These were the wines her grandfather was drinking and gave as gifts. It was the sweet at the end of a meal. Hilde recreated this wine to honor her father.
You can find these wines in the US through VeroVino Craft Wines. https://www.verovinogusto.com/vigna-petrussa
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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This is definitely one of the grapes on my “must try” list should I ever come across it.