The name Schiopetto is a myth in Italian wine, a lighthouse. The famous wine critic H. Johnson even calls Mario Schiopetto "the legendary pioneer of Collio wine". For it was Mario Schiopetto who, with the first "Tocai Friulano", the first pure white wine made from the Tocai grape, created respect and renown and a whole new understanding of Italian white wine. And with this, he planted Friuli in the consciousness of the wine world in a lasting and powerful way.
Today the Azienda Agricola Mario Schiopetto belongs to the Rotolo family. In 2014 Emilio Rotolo took over the traditional company from Mario Schiopetto's children Maria Angela, Carlo and Giorgio, but gently and with great respect and with the involvement of the Schiopetto family in the task of living up to this great heritage. Emilio Rotolo says with reverence: "One can only learn from Mario Schiopetto: his cellar is a cathedral, an absolute sensation, and the vines are a marvel. He has my utmost respect, his heritage deserves the greatest devotion." And he begins to tell.
It was Mario Schiopetto who founded modern oenology in Friuli, with a renaissance of wooden barrels, reduced yields per hectare and temperature-controlled fermentation in the cellar. But it was not only technological innovations that made for the best wines of Friuli, it was also his fundamental belief in the uniqueness of the terroir, the typical marl soil with its clay and limestone, which provides a mineral richness. Schiopetto was convinced that the true strength of a wine comes from nature, from the soil and the vine.
"Mario Schiopetto is the lengendary pioneer of Collio wine"
H. Johnson, wine critic
He inherits his passion for good wine from his father, the patron of the famous Udine inn "Ai Pompieri". Before fulfilling his dream of owning his own wine in 1965, Mario travelled all over Europe, visiting the most prestigious French and German wineries. In doing so, he laid the foundations for his famous Schiopetto style: a mélange of. French elegance, German technology and the purest and best expression of Friulian grapes. Mario Schiopetto is self-taught with a brilliant intuition. Because technique and refinement alone are not enough, it takes an understanding of the natural conditions, of the unique landscape. In 1965, when he was able to lease an old farm from the Archbishopric of Gorizia, he grabbed hold of it and began to realise his vision of a great Italian white wine. Schiopetto revives the old and neglected vines around the archbishop's palace in Capriva, tends them and cultivates them in the French style. In 1989 he can buy the estate, 30 hectares of fertile vineyards, beautifully draped around the imposing historical building, the former residence of the archbishop, in Capriva del Friuli. It is one of the only wineries in Italy surrounded by vineyards, the perfect home for a wine myth. Its ideal white wines write history: elegant, refined wines that delight with an incomparable richness of aromas and a rare complexity and density and captivate with their unique authenticity.
The fact that the success story is writing a new chapter is shown by another highlight: As the first Italian white wine ever, "Mario Schiopetto 2015" makes it into the Top 100 Wines of the World by James Suckling. "I'm sure Mario would be just as proud as we are," says Rotolo and lets his gaze wander lovingly over the gentle hills.
Picture: Flavia Vergani | Text: Domenica Flütsch | Source: Vergani Magazine 10