When in April 2003, Decanter reported the passing of a giant of Italian Wine, Mario Schiopetto, they referred to him as “…the man responsible for Friuli’s fame as a white wine producing area.” Back then, the appreciation and extent of this fame were still confined to a relatively small, discerning and mainly European audience. Mario Schiopetto’s focus was to get this little zone in Italy’s far northeast recognised for fresh, lively, textured and complex whites. He achieved this firstly through a devotion to the vineyards and wines themselves, and also by being regarded in the same company as the other emerging big-hitters of the Italian wine scene.
But his major influence on this region in the 1970’s was the pioneering of wine preservation techniques in the winemaking process, something lacking in the region – cold and anti-oxidative handling, epitomised by the German handling of Riesling – along with the more ‘French’ technique of elevating their wines in a careful, more oxidative, texture-building manner.
Today the common thread of the Schiopetto wines is restraint, with definition and layered aromatics, notable textures and a touch of phenolic grip – all underpinned by extensive and vigorous structures along with the much-prized savoury element.