Although Friuli has a preponderance of ‘French’ red varieties planted, and have done for some time, the recently marginalised autochthonous varieties are making somewhat of a comeback. There’s little chance of Pignolo or Schioppettino overtaking the Merlot plantings, but in quality terms at least they are making quite an impact. Both almost vanished altogether, with a combination of phylloxera, war and a 20th century focus on yield over character combining to push them close to extinction. Schioppettino came so close to oblivion that its fortunes had to be revived from cuttings taken from vines scattered across the region. Today, there are a moderately healthy 400 acres planted, and its reputation as a characterful variety is well entrenched. The finest expressions come from the Colli Orientali DOC where it is also known as Malvasia Nera. The wines tend to be laced with black and red berries with hints of spice, violets and herbs.