Ribolla Gialla (also known as Ribolla, in Slovenian: Zlata rebula) is a white Italian wine grape grown most prominently in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. The grape is also found in Slovenia, where it is known as Rebula, and on the Greek island of Kefalonia where it is known as Robola. In Friuli, the grape thrives in the region around Rosazzo and Gorizia. In Slovenia, the grape is grown prominently in the Brda region. The grape is not related to the Friuli red wine grape Schioppettino which is also known as Ribolla Nera. The obscure, lower quality Ribola Verde grape is mutated version that is not widely used.
The grape is believed to have originated in Greece and made it way up to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia by way of Slovenia. The first written documentation of the grape was in a 1289 notarial contract on vineyard land in the Friuli region.
During the 14th century, the Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio listed indulgence of Ribolla wines as one of the sins of gluttony in his diatribe on the subject. When the Duke of Austria, Leopold III, established reign over Trieste one of his stipulations was that the city supply him each year with 100 urns of the region's best Ribolla wine.
By 1402, the reputation of the wine made from the grape was high enough for the city of Udine to feel compelled to enact a law which prohibited the adulteration of any wine made from Ribolla. In the 18th century, the Italian writer Antonio Musnig rated Ribolla wine as the finest white wine in the Friuli.
The phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century took a hard toll on Ribolla plantings with many Friuli vineyards owners choosing to replant their land with imported French wine grapes like Merlot and Sauvignon blanc rather than the local grape varieties. By the 1990s less than 1% of all white Friuli wines created under a Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) designation contained Ribolla.
By the turn of the 21st century, international interest in the wines of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia had led to an increase in plantings of the grape. Today it is has a more prominent roles in the white DOC wines of Colli Orientali del Friuli and Collio Goriziano.
Viticulture and winemaking
The white wine made from the Ribolla grape is typically a deep coloured, light bodied wine with high acidity and floral notes. The wine can produce a more New World style with some oak aging. As the wine ages, it can develop some nutty flavors. In Greece, the wine has flinty and lemon notes. In the Friuli, the wines of the southern regions have a little more body than the wines of the central regions.
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