Romancing the Ribolla Gialla

I stopped by Terroni last night to meet some of the Oslavia producers in town for the Viva Vino show today.  I expected to taste a lot of Ribolla Gialla, the province’s most famous indigenous grape, but I did not expect to be quite as impressed by these wines- or perhaps “romanced” is the word.  I think I’m in love.

Most people who encounter Ribolla Gialla don’t know what to make of it, especially since there is a trend towards long macerations of this white grape must with its skins.  This gives the wines a yellow to orange hue, and imparts some very interesting aromatics, as well as textural components to the wine.

In other words, not your mama’s glass of white wine.

One of my favorite producers has always been Radikon, with their trademark 1 liter bottles, bold, modern labels, and a distinctly haunting style of wine making.  We tasted the 2002 Ribolla Gialla, which was just plain delicious.  Dark yellow, clear and bright in the glass, this wine has gorgeous notes of dried carnations, sage, fresh cut grass and drying yellow plum on the nose.  In the mouth is it salty, dry and super clean with a finish that makes you beg for a piece of cheese or a slice of cured pork.  Once you taste this wine, you’ll never forget it.  And you’ll probably always want to drink it again.

Did I mention the size of Sasa Radikon‘s hands?  Large, competent, and filled with the kind of strength that comes from working with the earth. This man has a warm and energetic handshake that will envelop your whole hand.  No wonder he uses these larger-than-life bottle formats.  Anything less would look silly in this man’s grip.

The larger, 1 liter bottle also makes sense once you taste the wine.

750ml could never be enough.

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