Antico Broilo is a small, family run estate that farms about six hectares in the far northeast corner of Italy. Antico Broilo can be found in the village of Prepotto in an area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia known as the Colli Orientali just west of the Slovenian border. The climate in the Colli Orientali ranges from Alpine to Mediterranean. In the rolling hills around Prepotto, grape growing benefits from the drying winds from the Judrio River. These winds help to cool during the day and ward off rot. Wide day and night temperature shifts also provide for slow, even ripening of the grapes by day and rest at night to maintain high levels of acidity, complexity and freshness.
Antico Broilo is run today by the very cool, soft spoken, and enthusiastic Massimo Duri and his father Giovanni. Massimo has been making wine since 1999, with an ever-increasing focus on high-quality, single variety wines. Massimo is fanatical about giving each grape variety its own platform from which to show its unique identity. The Duri’s take extraordinary care in the vineyards working in a natural, environmentally sustainable way without the use of synthetic fertilizers or systemic chemicals. The vines are Guyot trained to closely control yields. Harvesting is meticulously done by hand with only the best fruit making it into small trays that ensure only intact fruit is brought into the winery for pressing. This level of attention to detail results in single variety wines of extraordinary transparency and purity.
Thanks to a tip from our friend Christian Patat, the winemaker at Ronco del Gnemiz, today we are excited to showcase four exceptional red wines from Antico Broilo. While Friuli is often associated with its powerhouse white wines, more than a third of the production from the Colli Orientali is red wine. In Antico Broilo’s case, the wines come from the village of Prepotto, which is not only highly regarded for its red wines in general, but for the local Schioppettino variety in particular.
While two of today’s wines likely have a ring to them (Merlot and Cabernet Franc), the two wines based on the indigenous Schioppettino grape may not yet be on your vinous radar. You can find more information about the above wines by clicking on the labels, but I thought a little background on Schioppettino might be in order. Schioppettino is generally deep ruby in color with aromas of wild red, black and blue fruit with pepper and spice accents. Usually medium bodied with good acid and freshness and fine tannins that lend an elegant edge. When you hear a description like that it makes one thankful that it was brought back from the brink of extinction.
Schioppettino virtually disappeared after phylloxera devastated Friuli shortly after the turn of the last century. It was resuscitated through the efforts of winemakers Paola and Dina Rapuzzi in the ‘70s. After years of work, in 2008, the Schioppettino di Prepotto subzone was established thanks to a well-organized Prepotto producers’ association. The subzone established production standards (e.g., minimum aging, manual harvesting, maximum yields, etc.) designed to maintain quality for Schioppettino from Prepotto. The subzone today consists of 30 hectares of Schioppettino. For more on this story of Schioppettino’s revival check out Jeremy Parzen’s (aka Do Bianchi) blog post 'Schioppettino the next big thing? (history of its revival and fortune)' or drop us a line as we’d love to talk more about it.
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