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giovedì 10 febbraio 2011

lessons on making a proper Schioppettino

Gatto di Cialla, sotto l'albero.
Wednesday, 9th of February Day 3, after una degustazione ganzissima with felluga we traveled close by our Agriturismo Il Roncal, and stopped at the ever so mythical lands of Ronchi di Cialla.  We could all see the excitement on Jeremy's face as this was one of the most anticipated tasting of the trip for him.  Meeting with Paolo was a real Italian wine experience... no bullshit glamor, just straight up true wine, as natural as can be expressing the land where only the Rapuzzi family makes the DOC Schioppettino di Cialla.  The sun was shining and stepping out of the COF van, walking onto the lawn of the family house, you just got that feeling... Wow this is going to be fucking awsome! Soon we were greeted by Paolo, family, bambini, cats and dogs whatever you can imagine....

From that point on Paolo continued dropping knowledge on all of us about the history and his vision of Schioppettino, all while bringing out bottle after bottle of old vintages, and offering a wonderful selection of local Montasio cheeses.
Paolo Rapuzzi owner of Ronchi di Cialla, with dog on his mythical property.

Here is the wines Paolo brought out for the COF six yesterday....
Ronchi di Cialla, Schioppettino di Cialla DOC 2005, 2001, 1995
Ronchi di Cialla, Schioppettino di Cialla Vino da Tavola 1985.
''We feel our biggest connection to Schioppettino, when we started making it 40 years ago it was almost a completely lost variety''  said Paolo.  ''We put ''Cialla'' on the bottle, the name of the zone and don't choose to use our family name.  We only use indigenous varieties, native yeasts''.... were a few of the facts Paolo was explaining.  What had the biggest effect on me was when Paolo simply stated, ''Whether you like these wines or not, they are true expressions of our land.''

I enjoyed the 2001, 1995 and 1985 more than I have any other red wine on this trip.  Mcduff and I were discussing a bit how you couldn't help but to be reminded of some great Nebbiolo in Piemonte.  Although very different wines, these older Schioppettini expressed the terroir in a very similar manner to say Barolo or Barbaresco.  One very differnet style of Schioppettino that is a bit hard for me to get used to is how the nose and bouquets are so unique and very different to the frutti di bosco notes you pick up on the palate (especially in the young 2005 vintage which I wasn't crazy about).  Piemonte wines for instance have a much more uniform togetherness that these wines don't.  But if your going to drink Schioppettino, you can't miss Ronchi di Cialla.  For me, these are by far the most harmonious we have tasted and an overall mythical experience.

Above, the sweet Picolit and the ''Frappe'' (Carneval cookies) was an amazing pairing.  The Frappe were the best I have ever had in Italy and I stuffed my face with at least 20 of those mo' fo's!
Off into the friulian hills again today, but looking forward to some grappa tasting and a little change of pace....
a huuuuuge, Grazie alla Famiglia Rapuzzi!

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