Pignolo is a dark-skinned grape native to Friuli, in the northeast of Italy. It has a long-standing reputation for producing deep-colored and high-quality wines that were once popular with the monks of the regions ancient Abbazia (Abbey) di Rosazzo. It is now enjoying a renaissance in Italy, making wines that are tannic, brooding and rich, with blackberry and plum flavors.
Pignolo is a difficult grape variety to cultivate, which is one of the reasons that it suffered an almost fatal decline in plantings over the last hundred years or so. In the region of Fruili, authorities advised against planting the variety in favor of higher-yielding vines such as Schioppettino. Indeed, Pignolo produces uneven and generally low yields, and its abundance of tannins can cause problems during vinification. But those who persevere are generally rewarded: Pignolo wines are strong and structured, with plump tannins and balanced acidity. The variety has an affinity for oak, and wines are often aged for 24 months or more in barrel before being released, and can age for many years.