2019 Ronchi di Cialla "RiNera", Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
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ABOUT THIS WINE
Ribolla Nera is produced from younger vines of Schioppettino on the estate. It takes its name from an old, local term for the varietal. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, using native yeasts and minimal intervention. It is aged for up to 18 months in oak barrels and 6 months in bottle prior to release.
The Schioppettino grape has had a similar history to other obscure grapes in Italy. Cultivated since the middle-ages in and around Prepotto and Cialla in Friuli, it was almost completely lost to the Phylloxera pest in the middle of the 19th century. The varietal was literally written off as extinct. In the late 1960's it was not included in the list of grapes allowed to be cultivated in Friuli. Thankfully, in 1970, The Ronchi di Cialla winery was founded by Dina and Paolo Rapuzzi. With the help of Bernardo Bruno, the mayor of Prepotto, the Rapuzzi's found a small plot of forgotten Schioppettino vines. The Cialla estate took cuttings from the best shoots and cultivated a vineyard of 3,500 vines. The first vintage of their Schioppettino was released in 1977. Now, more than forty years later, Schioppettino has regained popularity, thanks in large part to the Cialla estate.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
In Cialla, in 1970, a small miracle happened: Paolo and Dina Rapuzzi founded the winery Ronchi di Cialla and, thanks also to the help of Bernardo Bruno, then mayor of Prepotto, managed to find about 60 surviving vines of Schioppettino. Selecting the best gems from the shoots, they made new cuttings and managed, in the space of two years, to create a first wine estate of 3,500 vines that marked the rebirth of the Schioppettino.
As a recognition of so much work and foresight, in 1976, the Rapuzzis were awarded the very first of the prestigious Risit D'aur Prize (Golden Vine), from the Nonino distillery of Percoto for the following motive: "... for giving rational impulse to the cultivation, in its most suited habitat in Cialla of Prepotto, of the ancient and prestigious native vine Schioppettino, of which absurd laws had decreed the extinction... ".
On the jury, there was also Luigi Veronelli who fell in love first with the story and then with the wine Schioppettino. After more than forty years, Schioppettino is sold and appreciated all over the world. Many vintages, kept in our cellars in Ronchi di Cialla, have been subjected to topping up. Schioppettino, from an extinct grape, thanks to Ronchi di Cialla and to the Rapuzzi family, is experiencing a rebirth and a renewed period of popularity.