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Ribolla Gialla

A Tasty White Wine From Friuli Venezia Giulia

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Ribolla Gialla has long been grown in Friuli Venezia Giulia, and when Friuli Venezia Giulia was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, sweet wines made from Ribolla Gialla were in great demand at Court.

I didn't encounter any sweet wines made with Ribolla at Vinitaly this year -- the wines were all dry, and almost universally pleasingly fresh, which is a characteristic of the grape that leads to its being used in blends with both Tocai Friulano (now Friulano) and Malvasia, as well as in purezza. What I did encounter, in addition to still wines, was sparkling Ribolla, which can be quite pleasant.

Livon Braide Alte delle Venezie IGT 2007

This is a bend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Picolit and Moscato Giallo that is barrel fermented and aged. It's a vineyard wine; the term Braide means an agricultural terrain adjacent to a canalone or gully. The wine is classified IGT because Collio doesn't contemplate the blend. Brassy gold with green reflections and white rim. The bouquet is powerful, with deft greenish accents and butterscotch with honey and greenish vegetal accents, as well as acacia, brambles, and bitterness, a combination that brings to mind bright sun on a crisp day. A lot going on, and young too. On the palate it's rich, with languid butterscotch-laced white berry fruit that combines loquat and gooseberry with a degree of languidity and is supported by smooth delicate acidity and tannins from wood that flow into a fairly long clean greenish gooseberry finish with savory underpinning. Pleasant, in a rich fairly international key, and will work well with a variety of dishes, ranging from roast fish through creamy white meats, and also with such things as asparagus risotto or chicken pot pie; because of the sweetness in the finish it will also be nice with oriental dishes, and I would expect it to be long-lived. Give it a year or two -- or more -- to develop. Worth seeking out.
Score: 88-90

Canus Ribuèle Blàncie COF Doc 2005

This spends 6 months on its lees, and is then racked onto the lees of the basic Ribolla, and is also aged in tonneaux. It's lively brassy gold with lively greenish brassy reflections, and has a powerful bouquet with a fair amount of cedar and also yeasty aromas, some spice, and brandied butterscotch. Very different from a young Ribolla. On the palate it's ample and quite smooth with clean fresh minerality and warmth that flow into a clean mineral finish. Pleasant in a richer, more powerful key; it is quite different on the palate too with respect to a young Ribolla, with considerably more depth, power and acidity, and though there is a certain languor to it, the languor is mineral, not sweet. It will work well with creamy cheeses, stewed fish, and is quite pleasant, but a step above and beyond most Ribolla.
Score: 88-90

Livon Tenuta Roncalto Ribolla Gialla 2008

The vineyard is at the top of the Collina di Ruttazzi, with a southerly exposure that guarantees sun all day long. The wine, which is aged 80% in steel and 20% in tonneaux, is a lively brassy greenish yellow with white rim, and has a delicate bouquet with slight loquat acidity and some pungency mingled with honeydew melon, some minerality, and very slight butterscotch. Opens nicely and is pleasant to sniff. On the palate it's ample and soft with honey-laced loquat fruit supported by acacia and deft acidity that's more fruit driven than mineral, and flows into a clean mineral finish. Pleasant, and will work quite well with simple antipasti, steamed fish, and green vegetable pasta or risotto dishes; I would also be tempted to swerve it with moderately spiced Oriental dishes. Worth seeking out.
Score: 88

Visintini Ribolla Gialla COF DOC 2009

Pale brassy white with brassy reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with acacia and loquat fruit supported by some dusky mineral acidity and a degree of sweetness too. On the palate it's ample and fairly rich, with loquat acacia fruit supported by honey sweetness and fairly languid acidity that flows into a clean delicate loquat finish. Graceful, and will be pleasant as an aperitif or with simple fish, and will also age nicely for a couple of years. Worth seeking out.
Score: 86-8

Forchir Ribolla Gialla delle Venezie IGT 2009

This is an IGT because they are in Grave del Friuli, whose appellations don't contemplate Ribolla. The must spends a night cryomacerating on the skins to enhance its aromas, and is lively brassy gold with bright greenish reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with elegant loquat supported by acacia and some honey mingled with clean heather, sage, and bright spice. On the palate it's ample and soft, with pleasant honey-laced loquat fruit supported by acacia and soft loquat acidity that flows into a clean smooth fairly soft loquat finish. Pleasant, and will be a nice aperitif with delicate cheese or vegetable antipasti. It grew upon me.
Score: 86-8

Anselmi La Reguta Ribolla Gialla Collio DOC 2009

Brilliant brassy gold with lively brassy highlights. The bouquet is very young, with white berry fruit supported by some sea salt, peppery spice, and some citric accents and sage; there is also some loquat, though the citric notes are more apparent. On the palate it's full, with elegant honey-laced loquat fruit supported by considerable soft warmth that flows into a warm loquat finish. It's a bit more intense than the IGT, with slightly brighter acidity and more body, and displays greater depth and elegance. A fine wine for fish, and in particular sushi.
Score: 86-88

Canus Ribolla Gialla Brut

Brilliant brassy gold with brassy reflections and white rim, and fine perlage. The bouquet is fairly rich, with honeydew melon and some spice mingled with acacia and slight airiness. On the palate it's full and fresh with clean mineral laced acacia supported by minerality and some sweetness that flow into a fresh, slightly sweet finish. Quite pleasant, and will drink very well as an aperitif; it's a good alternative to a high-end Prosecco.
Score: 86-8

Ronchi di San Giuseppe Ribolla Gialla COF DOC 2009

Pale brassy yellow with brassy reflections and pale white rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with acacia blossoms and minerality laced with some sweetness and greenish accents; nice depth and though still developing is pleasant. On the palate it's ample with delicate loquat fruit laced with hiney overtones and supported by bright loquat acidity that flows into a clean fresh loquat finish. Pleasant and will be quite nice as an aperitif; it will also drink well with simple risotti -- greens based -- or pasta dishes, and with cold cuts. Worth seeking out.
Score: 86-8

La Magnolia Ribolla Gialla Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC 2009

Pale brassy white with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with smoky minerality, some savory accents, and hints of loquat. Nice depth, and both loquats and savory accents increase as it opens. On the palate it's ample, with fairly rich mineral-laced loquat fruit supported by mineral acidity that flows into a long warm mineral finish. Graceful, and will be quite nice as an aperitif, or with crustaceans, rich fish, and also fish or vegetable risotti and pasta dishes, green pasta sauces, and delicate oriental dishes. Worth seeking out.
Score: 86-8

Primosic Ribolla di Oslavia Riserva Collio DOC 2007

Lively brassy gold with brilliant greenish brassy highlights and white rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with some caramel and butterscotch mingled with minerality and some honeydew melon. On the palate it's ample and languid, with moderately intense minerality supported by slight honeysuckle and warm delicate loquat warmth more than acidity, which flows into a fairly long warm mineral finish. The delicate loquat warmth is intriguing, and invites reflection; it grew upon me and I would be tempted to serve it as an aperitif or with delicate fish dishes. Or cold cuts, in particular cooked hams.
Score: 86-7

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