Confusingly it is often referred to in the Friuli as Ribolla Nera, but it has nothing to do with (genetically speaking) Ribolla Gialla (the yellow darling of the Collio). The name is from schioppietto, meaning crackle – perhaps the wine used to be bottled with some fizz, maybe it has something to do with the thin skins bursting in your mouth, as ever the truth is lost in time.
The vine’s home is Prepotto, a small town in the Colli Orientali. It had almost died out, fortunately in the 1970’s a number of producers backed its potential and began the recovery. It is now an important source of fine wines from the Friuli and is an important cog in the revival of indigenous varieties.
It is a vine that doesn’t like a cold and wet spring, as it is susceptible to millerandage. It is also susceptible to downy mildew. It is a mid to late harvesting variety that is only found in along the border of Italy and Slovenia and between Gorizia and Aquileia. The wines from the Aquileia DOC cost least and are the least expressive the best are from the Colli Orientali DOC and for the very best look out for Prepotto where the deep, spicy flavours are most marked.
A schioppettino festival is held in Prepotto in the first week of May every year.