April 26th-Ribolla Gialla

Ribolla Gialla is a white grape indigenous to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy, near the Slovenian border. It is an ancient variety, with its first written mention dating back to the late 13th century by Pope Boniface VIII. In the present day, the grape is known as Rebula in Slovenia. It is most widely grown in the regions of Goriška Brda and Vipavska Dolina. In Italy, it still finds its home in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where it is mostly used in the production of light bodied varietal wines. Thanks to the popularity of sparkling wines, like Prosecco, many wineries are successfully producing sparkling styles also. Plantings of Ribolla Gialla are very sparse outside of these regions worldwide. The DOCs of Colli Orientali del Friuli and Collio are the most common sources. In the 1980s, many Ribolla Gialla vines were replaced with Sauvignon Blanc but more recently, there has been a renewed interest in planting indigenous varieties.

This week I tasted a 2021 I Clivi Ribolla Gialla from Venezia Guilia IGP. It was a pale green lemon color with watery legs. There were also fine bubbles that swirled in the goblet before accumulating on the surface. The nose consisted of ripe white grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, wet stone, orange blossoms, green grass and bread dough. The bread dough character was a result of aging the wine on the fine lees (dead yeast) for an extended period of time (the winery states it was aged on the lees for 6 months). This process also adds texture and heft to normally light bodied wine, in addition to reducing the perceived acidity of the wine. On the palate, this dry wine had a higher level of acidity without being overpowering. The acidity was balanced with pronounced flavors on the palate and extra body provided by the lees aging. The wet stone, grass and lemon zest slowly faded on the extended finish. If I didn’t drink this bottle so soon, I could’ve left it to store in my cellar for a few years. This wine would pair well with white fish with beurre blanc, sushi, and shellfish, making for a perfect light dinner on a warm summer evening. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: