Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ribolla gialla

Harry harvesting

     This weekend we harvested the Ribolla gialla - one of our favorite annual farm activities.
    In 2005, Steve travelled to Fruili, Italy with good friend and mentor George Vare, to learn the correct way to grow and make wine out of the Ribolla gialla that George grafted into his vineyard in Napa. This ancient variety is only grown in the Fruili region in Italy, in the adjacent part of Slovenia, where it is known as "Rebula," and on the Greek island of Kefalonia where it is known as "Robola."
    During that 2005 trip to Fruili, Steve met with some of the premiere Ribolla producers including Radikon, Gravner, Miani, and Simcic. Steve came back inspired by the richness and freshness of the wines, and the wines of Miani, in particular, became a big influence on the style of the Matthiasson White Wine blend.
Ribolla gialla

     In 2007, we grafted some Ribolla gialla into our own vineyard. We harvested our first crop in 2008, with the kids picking and then stomping on the grapes. This wine was made in the style of Radikon and Gravner, who ferment the grapes on the skins (more like a red wine). The resulting wine, our 2008 Matthiasson Ribolla gialla, turned out just fantastic--extremely nutty and spicy, with the wet stone/seashell character  that defines Ribolla gialla. However, our 2009 attempt chose to become an exotic vinegar instead of wine (which we aged for 18 months and will offer to our wine club!). Our 2010 is doing much better, and the quality of the just harvested 2011 is amazing!

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