Ribolla Gialla is alive and well in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley thanks to George Vare. George fell in love with Ribolla Gialla in the early ‘90s while traveling in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Northeastern Italy, and committed to bringing this variety home to California. Cuttings were taken from Josko Gravner’s heralded vineyard in Friuli and suitcased into the United States, signaling the first arrival of this ancient variety in California. In 2001, George and Elsa planted the cuttings in their home vineyard at the foot of Mt. Veeder in the Western Napa Valley. The soils are deep, alluvial, gravelly clay-loam and the vines are densely-planted, encouraging competition between the vines. The site benefits from early afternoon shading, while daytime temperatures are moderated by proximity to the adjacent redwood-forested slopes of Mt. Veeder. These factors lead to slow flavor development, great acid balance and moderate sugar in the resulting grapes. Farmed to perfection by Steve Matthiasson, this vineyard will continue to produce exceptional, age-worthy and singular Ribolla Gialla for years to come.
The 2019 Ribolla Gialla is fabulous. Rich, ample and layered, the 2019 possesses tremendous depth and textural resonance. All of the phenolic intensity of Ribolla comes through loud and clear. Dried pear, chamomile, spice and almond are some of the many aromas and flavors that build in the glass.