Its fate is deeply entertwined with Abbazia di Rosazzo's one, where the two last surviving Pignolo vines where uncovered and planted at the end of the 70's. Its name probably derives from “pigna” (the Italian word for pine cone) and it's due to its grapes' particularly compact form. Records acknowledging Pignolo's existence date back to the XIV century. It sure was held in great consideration, as it used to be an exchange good for payments, and to be given to nobles as a show of respect to honour them.
The Abbey of Rosazzo stands on the southern side of the Colli Orientali hills, near the cities of Manzano and Udine. It was the Benedectine monks from the Abbey of Millstat, in the above region of Carinthia, who brought along their know-how about wine and olive cultivation to Rosazzo, when they entered the Abbey at the end of the XIII century. Since then, the lands surrounding the monastery and its church have always been hosting native grape vineyards, like Ribolla Gialla, Venice's Doge favourite wine. Actually the Abbey's historical wine cellar is the most ancient one in Friuli (photo on the left).
Unfortunately, a series of diseases which deeply affected Friulian vines at the middle of the XIX century marked Pignolo's downfall, as it's a very delicate vine with a low resistance to parasites, so – although it survived – it almost disappeared until its new-found life in the 1970's, when it was reintroduced in Rosazzo.
The microclimate here is one of a kind, mostly thanks to a privileged position. Behind the Abbey rise the Pre-Alps, sheltering its landscape from the cold winds that sweep through the region (like the freezing “bora”, typical in Trieste) and the sea is close at hand, just 25 km away, bringing in a breath of mild weather that's perfect for growing vineyards. In 2011 it was also established the Rosazzo DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin, the Italian trademark title for excellent, certified native wines), recognising these hills' wines as having features which are peculiar and exclusive to the area, and Pignolo has been enlisted among them.
A wine that's worth tasting, and an Abbey that's worth visiting: its story traces back to the IX century and had very dramatic turns of events throughout the centuries. It's a beautiful spot and now holds a number of interesting events, including the “Rosazzo da Rosa”, en exhibition dedicated to all varieties of roses, a lot of which can be seen all around the Abbey's site when they bloom. Its historical wine cellar can still be visited, too, by arranging an appointment beforehand and visitors can also stay and sleep in the Abbey's accomodation facility.
For more info, visit the site: www.abbaziadirosazzo.it
Photos taken from the website www.abbaziadirosazzo.it