Schiopettino (meaning “gunshot” or “little crack”, also known as “Ribolla Nera” and thought to be a relative of Ribolla Gialla or Rebula) 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.
This is a grape with rich potential, typically vinified in stainless-steel and matured in used barriques. Schioppettino is deeply colored, medium bodied, with charming violet aromatics, and flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, and a certain Northern Rhone spicy/peppery component, bright fresh acidity, and comforting grainy tannin.