Dott. is handmade by Chalmers from estate-grown fruit. It's inspired by the late Dr. Rod Bonfiglioli a passionate, eccentric scientist whose dogged determination and visionary foresight brought so much colour, interest and integrity to Australian wine. He sought out these rare grapes for our collection, seeing their promise long before the Chalmers family did, and for that we are all grateful.
Almost extinct in the early 20th Century, Schioppettino was lovingly revived in the 1970s and now flourishes mostly in Prepotto along the Judrio Valley, close to the Slovenian border in the warm, temperate and rainy Colli Orientali del Friuli. The delicate variety is prized for its overt and distinctive white pepper and spice notes and firm but fine tannins.
On a 2015 trip to visit Rauscedo nursery, Kim and Tennille Chalmers were in a restaurant in Cividale del Friuli when they were approached by the President of the Association of Schioppettino producers of Prepotto, who'd overheard them speaking about the grape in English. A wonderful and inspiring exchange ensued with the local experts fascinated to hear of Australian Schioppettino. They gave their hearty approval for the selection of the Heathcote site as ‘perfect’ terroir and climate for their beloved grape which needs good air drainage, warm days, cool nights and mineral soils.
Dott. Schioppettino was hand-picked on the 20th of April, chilled overnight then destemmed into open fermenter for a whole berry wild ferment. It was basket pressed on the 3rd May into a combination of stainless steel and very old French oak barrique. After a short maturation period it was hand bottled on site at Merbein in August 2017.
The 2017 Schioppettino is bursting with white pepper and Dutch speculaas spice aromas with a hint of jasmine and woodsy notes. The medium bodied palate reiterates the anise, cinnamon and cardamom spices with cedar oil, blackcurrant and Davidson plum flavours, supported by medium-grain tannins giving a lingering, dry finish.