One of Italy's greatest white-wine producers, Mario Schiopetto, died last Wednesday, April 23, after an extended battle with cancer. He was 72.
For decades, the quiet winemaker produced and promoted the best white wines of Friuli Venezia—Giulia in northeast Italy, in particular the subregion of Collio. He excelled in making aromatic, clean and refined whites from such varieties as Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Bianco, as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Most of his wine never touched oak barrels in their maturation, since he preferred to emphasize the grape type and not the wood.
The Schiopetto family owns nearly 75 acres of vineyards in Friuli and annually produces almost 20,000 cases under its Schiopetto and Podere dei Blumeri labels. Mario started bottling his own wines in the mid-1960s.
Schiopetto is survived by his wife, Gloria; his twin sons, Carlo and Giorgio, 31; and his daughter, Maria Angela, 34. The latter is in charge of the estate's administration. Carlo handles wine sales in Italy, and Giorgio oversees the family's vineyards and winery. Stefano Mennotti remains as the winemaker.
-- James Suckling