Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino 2017


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“The 2017 Schioppettino di Cialla is wildly spicy and fresh, with an intense burst of peppery rose and smokey raspberry offset by a dusting of savory spice. This is silky-smooth and sapid with masses of mineral-tinged dark red fruits offset by zesty acidity. It finishes potent with a staining of primary concentration and a coating of sweet tannins. What a beauty, and with the potential for a very long life. In 2017, Ronchi di Cialla lost 30% of their production due to frost at the end of April. Drinking window: 2025-2040. 93 points

The Ronchi di Cialla winery is located within its own valley, like something out of a fairy tale, with roads that curve through rows of vines planted between outcroppings of forest. The family home and cellar sit at the top of a hill, overlooking vineyards in all directions. Ivan Rapuzzi runs the winery with his mother and brother, following the same traditional methods as their father before them. Thanks to Ronchi di Cialla, Schioppettino may be one of the top reds of Friuli in the not-too-distant future. The Rapuzzi family saved the variety from extinction, creating a library of wines that spans decades and proves just how well Schioppettino matures. Today, the variety has its own subzone within Friuli Colli Orientali, Schioppettino di Prepotto, while Ronchi di Cialla enjoys its own unique terroir. This year, I tasted several back vintages at the estate: 1983, 1992, 2005, 2014 and the recently released 2017. Ronchi di Cialla releases these older vintages at regular intervals and at extremely reasonable prices. As for the 2017 Schioppettino, which hailed from a tough, warm and dry year (there is no irrigation permitted in the appellation), the Rapuzzi family decided to limit the amount of time in wood to one year, down from the usual three to four years, to preserve freshness. Moreover, they lost 30% of their production due to spring frosts. As a result, this is an atypical style of Ronchi di Cialla that will be amazing to follow over the years. Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the white wines of Cialla, which include an off-dry Verduzzo that’s to die for, the age-worthy Ciallabianco, a blend of 65% Ribolla Gialla, 25% Picolit and 10% Verduzzo, and a varietal Ribolla Gialla. While the entire portfolio is worth seeking out, the Ronchi di Cialla Schioppettino is a must for lovers of deeply complex, age-worthy wines.“

Eric Guido, Vinous (04/23)